Outstanding Sargent painting worth over £ 7.5million at risk of leaving UK

  • The export bar is to allow time for a British gallery or institution to acquire the work.
  • The Outstanding Painting is considered a candidate for Sargent’s Most Beautiful Portrait of a Seated Man

Worth over £ 7.5million, a remarkable three-quarter-length portrait of Arthur Ramsay, the 14th Earl of Dalhousie is at risk of leaving the country unless a British buyer is found to save the job for the nation.

The Earl of Dalhousie is extremely important for the study of the impressive legacy of John Singer Sargent. Best known for her famous Portrait of Madame X, the international artist – who has spent most of her life in Europe and whose resting place is in the UK – has played an important role in art, the history and culture of the time and this piece set the scene for Sargent’s fame on both sides of the Atlantic.

Dating from 1899, the portrait coincides with the founding of psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud. As a result, The Earl of Dalhousie is considered outstanding for his portrayal of the character of Arthur Ramsay and offers a fascinating look at aristocratic masculinity, uncertainty, and imperial doubt at the time.

Whitley Bay Arts Minister Lord Parkinson said:

John Singer Sargent was, as the 2015 National Portrait Gallery exhibition rightly pointed out, “the greatest portrait painter of his generation.” He continues to inspire artists, academics and the public to think more deeply about ourselves, our history and the human condition – with The Man in the Red Coat by Julian Barnes is just one example of the creative impulses that ‘he continues to arouse.

There is still so much to learn from this exceptional portrait of the 14th Earl of Dalhousie, painted in the UK on the transition from the 19th to the 20th century. It would be a huge loss if this piece were to leave the country. I sincerely hope that a British buyer can be found to save labor for the nation.

The Minister’s decision follows the advice of the Exports of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest Committee (RCEWA). The Committee agreed that this was a fascinating image in many ways and was one of Sargent’s finest male portraits.

Committee member Christopher Baker said:

Sargent’s Earl of Dalhousie recalls a brilliant transitional moment in British portraiture, being late Victorian but surprisingly modern in appearance. The artist injected a new dynamism into such paintings; he had a deep knowledge of both the greatest portrait traditions and recent innovations and here combined a nod to Van Dyck’s achievement (in terms of pose and frame) with an energetic and courageous brushstroke and an incisive characterization. Such skills would prove to be irresistible to a generation of British patrons.

Dalhousie was a Scottish aristocrat and his portrait is one of the finest of all of Sargent’s studies of male subjects; picture of height perhaps tinged with uncertainty, this is a coming-of-age painting, created when the subject was twenty-one, and, as recent research has shown, she was paid by its tenants. Exceptional aesthetically and in terms of the study of the art and culture of the time, it would be a profound misfortune if this scintillating work were not insured for a British collection.

The review committee made its recommendation on the grounds that the departure of the painting from the United Kingdom would be a misfortune as it was of exceptional aesthetic importance and of exceptional importance to the study of the work of Sargent and art, history and culture in the broad sense of the time. .

The decision on the export permit application for the painting will be deferred until March 3, 2022. At the end of the first deferral period, owners will have a cooling off period of 15 working days to consider any offer to purchase the painting. at the recommended price. price of £ 7,617,360 (excluding VAT). The second deferral period will begin after signing an option agreement and will last six months.


Notes to Editors:

  1. Organizations or individuals interested in purchasing the paint should contact RCEWA on 0845 300 6200.
  2. The details of the painting are as follows: A painting by John Singer Sargent of Arthur George Maule Ramsay (1878-1929), the 14th Earl of Dalhousie, in front of double pillars and a plinth.
    The painting is in oil paint on canvas and measures 150.7 x 102.2 cm
    The work is in great condition with the unusual advantage that it has not been lined, preserving the surface and texture of Sargent’s distinctive brush.
  3. Provenance: Arthur George Maule Ramsay, 14th Earl of Dalhousie (1878-1928), the keeper. From there by descent until its sale in 2021.
  4. The Examination Commission for the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest is an independent body, assisted by the Arts Council, which advises the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, media and sports on whether a cultural object, intended for export, is of national importance according to specified criteria.
  5. The Arts Council defends, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. It supports a range of activities in the arts, museums and libraries – from theater to digital art, from reading to dance, from music to literature, and from crafts to collections. www.artscouncil.org.uk

About Glenn Gosselin

Glenn Gosselin

Check Also

George Mason University: Peter Stearns Receives American Historical Association Recognition for Distinguished Fellowship Life

November 18, 2021 Peter Stearns, university professor of history and dean emeritus at George Mason …