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Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 19:16 GMT
Minister bans painting export
Arkwright's Masson Mill
The painting is linked to the World Heritage Site
Arts minister Tessa Blackstone has banned the export of a 1.2m portrait of one of Britain's great industrialists after fears it could be taken out of the country.

The painting was done by Joseph Wright of Derby in 1790 and depicts cotton tycoon Richard Arkwright junior with his wife Mary and daughter Anne.

The temporary export ban was recommended to the minister because of the Arkwright family's links with the growth of industry in the Derwent Valley in Derbyshire.

It will give museums and art galleries in the UK one last chance to pay the 1,217,500 price tag to keep it in the country.

Joseph Wright
Artist Joseph Wright spent his life in Derby
The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art recommended that export of the painting be deferred.

It is understood that the painting has been sold by its owner to a buyer in America.

The deferral period will last until 18 April and could be extended to after 18 August if there is a serious intention to raise the funds.

The oil painting, measuring 243cm (8ft) by 159cm (5ft), was the most ambitious of four pictures produced by Joseph Wright for the famous cotton manufacturer Sir Richard Arkwright senior in the 1780s and 1790s.

World fame

Developments pioneered by the Arkwright family, including the patented spinning process and water-powered mills, fundamentally changed the area of the Derwent Valley and beyond.

Derwent Valley was recognised internationally when it was made a World Heritage Site in December 2001.

The portrait originally hung with the other three in the collection at Willersley Castle, Derbyshire.

When the estate was sold in 1993 it was loaned to Derby Museum and Art Gallery.

It was later sold at Sotheby's in November 2001.


Click here to go to Derby
See also:

11 Jan 03 | England
14 Dec 01 | England
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