UK Export Ban placed on William IV Portrait

December 23 2021

Image of UK Export Ban placed on William IV Portrait

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The UK Government has placed a temporary export ban on Benjamin West's portrait of the future King William IV. Sold at Sotheby's earlier this summer, cultural institutions who might be interested to acquire the work will now have to find £314,880 by 16th March 2022 to keep it in the country.

Committee Member Professor Mark Hallett is quoted: 

This is a highly original and visually striking portrait of a royal prince by one of the leading painters working in Georgian Britain. Showing the future King William IV standing alone on the deck of a warship, dressed in his midshipman’s uniform, looking steadfastly out to sea and resting his hand on a sword, the portrait highlights both his youth and bravery. The work’s significance lies not only in its exceptional quality and interest as a painting; the portrait also provided the basis for a widely disseminated engraving that served to promote the modest, heroic virtues of the prince and his family at a time of profound national crisis. For all these reasons, this is a painting of great historical and art-historical importance.

Notice to "Internet Explorer" Users

You are seeing this notice because you are using Internet Explorer 6.0 (or older version). IE6 is now a deprecated browser which this website no longer supports. To view the Art History News website, you can easily do so by downloading one of the following, freely available browsers:

Once you have upgraded your browser, you can return to this page using the new application, whereupon this notice will have been replaced by the full website and its content.