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Last Updated: Friday, 22 September 2006, 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK
Turner painting under export ban
The Blue Rigi
The Blue Rigi had been expected to fetch about 2m at auction
A Turner painting which sold for a record 5.8m at auction earlier this year has been barred from going abroad.

The temporary export ban gives UK arts institutions two months to express a serious interest in buying The Blue Rigi, which features a Swiss landscape.

The new owner has applied for an export licence to sell the painting to another buyer, believed to be in the US.

The 1842 work more than doubled the record price for a British watercolour in June at Christie's in London.

If any institution does show an interest, the export ban will be extended until March 2007 to give them time to raise the 5.8m needed to secure it.

Culture Minister David Lammy placed the bar on the painting after a recommendation from the reviewing committee on the export of works of art and objects of cultural interest, an independent body which advises the government on such issues.

First owner

The committee made the decision on the grounds that the painting is of "outstanding aesthetic importance" and of "outstanding significance for the study of the work of JMW Turner."

The painting was bought by its first owner in 1842 for 80 guineas.

The Blue Rigi is one of a series of four watercolours Turner produced in 1842 after returning from a trip to Switzerland.

It features Lake Lucerne and the Rigi Mountain at sunrise.

Earlier this year, Tate Britain gallery failed to secure another painting in the series, The Dark Rigi.

The gallery already owns Turner's preparatory sketches for his Rigi series.

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