Oh, and a pair of Kauffmans too!

April 1 2022

Image of Oh, and a pair of Kauffmans too!

Picture: gov.uk

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

They are coming thick and fast these days! Apologies, I forgot to spot last week's announcement that a pair of group portraits by Angelica Kauffman have also been subject to a temporary export bar by the UK Government.

The pair of Group Portraits of Mr and Mrs Joseph May and their Children have been valued at £1.5m. They were sold several times during the nineteenth-century and have descended with various families during the twentieth.

According to Committee Member Professor Mark Hallett:

Angelica Kauffman was one of the most important painters working in late eighteenth-century Britain and this is an especially interesting example of her output. Though the artist is justly celebrated for her subject pictures, Kauffman’s portraits are equivalently complex and ambitious in character. This double portrait of the May family, in which Mary May is pictured with her daughters, and Joseph May with his sons, is extremely unusual in splitting up its male and female subjects in such a direct way. At the same time, Kauffman’s adept handling of composition ensures that the two pictures elegantly complement each other. As well as having a powerful aesthetic appeal, the paintings offer a sensitive pictorial meditation on parental and sibling relationships, and on the different stages of childhood. For all these reasons, they make a powerful contribution to our understanding of Georgian portraiture.

Any interested institutions will have until 24th July 2022 to find £1.5m to keep the works in the country.

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