Appeal to save £8m Rubens black portrait

The government has put a temporary export bar on a rare Peter Paul Rubens oil sketch, Head of an African Man Wearing a Turban.

It is one of very few European artworks depicting African men in the 17thcentury, and was used by Rubens, a favourite of Charles I, in his 1609 portrayal of Balthazar in Adoration of the Magi.

The sketch, unusually on paper, has been in the UK for more than 100 years, and is painted on a list of accounts written in Italian, suggesting that it may have been done in Italy. It is one of about 30 Rubens oil sketches in British public collections, and is particularly rare because it is thought to have been of an individual the artist met rather than a posed model.

The export licence has been deferred by arts minister Michael Ellis, on the recommendation of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art, until July 5 to give public collections time raise the £7,695,860 to prevent the sketch from being sold abroad.


Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA),


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