LONDON, UK.- Arts Minister, Estelle Morris, has placed a temporary export bar on 'The Archers', a painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds. In doing so she has acted on the expert recommendation of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art, which awarded a starred rating to the exceptional painting, meaning that every possible effort should be made to raise enough money to keep it in the country.
This impressive double full-length portrait is among the most important and visually impressive pictures by Sir Joshua Reynolds, who was himself one of the leading artists in eighteenth-century Europe, by virtue of his portraiture, his presidency of the Royal Academy of Arts, and as the author of the Discourses on Art.
The subjects of the portrait, Colonel Acland and Lord Sydney, are depicted in woodland in the guise of archers in pursuit of game. The dramatic composition contains rich allegorical references, on the themes of youth and friendship.
The portrait, conceived in the summer of 1769 and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1770, also has a strong theatrical element and sense of parody that is intended to amuse as well as educate the viewer. Reynolds displays not only keen awareness of the traditions of high art but current trends and fashions. At the time that Reynolds painted the portrait, there was an enthusiastic revival of interest in archery among the English upper class.
The deferral will enable purchase offers to be made at the following agreed fair market price:
Sir Joshua Reynolds painting deferred at the recommended price of £3,200,000 (exclusive of VAT), until after 26 March 2005 with the possibility of an extension until after 26 July 2005 if there is a serious intention to raise funds with a view to making an offer to purchase.
Anyone interested in making an offer to purchase the painting should contact the owner's agent through:
The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
2-4 Cockspur Street