It was purchased at a Bamfords auction in Derby in January 2019 for a hammer price of £22,000 by the current owner (as reported in Antiques Trade Gazette No 2382).
This figure of Cleopatra, an asp around her arm, is signed to the headband H De Triqueti, 1859.
The owner applied for an export licence to take the artwork overseas and it is now valued at £150,000.
Culture minister Caroline Dinenage placed the temporary export bar on the artwork because the artist, Triqueti, has “national significance” and his “royal connections and influence on sculptors in Britain mean it would be a great shame to lose this exquisite sculpture abroad”.
French royal sculptor Henri Joseph Francois, Baron de Triqueti (1804-74) created the Wolsey chapel at Windsor, rededicated by Queen Victoria in memory of Prince Albert in 1871-74.
The minister’s decision follows the advice of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA). The committee noted that the sculpture was made for the British market and made its recommendation on the grounds of the sculpture’s outstanding significance to the study of Triqueti, his work in ivory and the history of British art.
RCEWA member Stuart Lochhead said: “An important rediscovery, this striking sculpture by the ‘sculptor to the princes’ Henri de Triqueti is a tour de force of carving in ivory and casting in bronze.
“The eclectic style of Triqueti was appreciated by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert alongside many significant collectors in mid to late 19th century Britain but today very little of his work is known publicly and it is too little studied.
“The emergence of this work adds considerably to our knowledge of his art in the UK and his influence on later British sculptors and therefore its loss to the nation would be keenly felt.”
The decision on the export licence application for the sculpture will be deferred until March 17, 2021, and may be extended until June.