A Banquet Still Life by Jan Davidsz de Heem

A Banquet Still Life by Jan Davidsz de Heem (1606-84) is an unusually large work by the artist at 5ft 1in x 7ft (1.55 x 2.11m).

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A Banquet Still Life by Jan Davidsz de Heem (1606-84) was bought at Christie’s last year and an export licence was sought.

However, following the advice of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA), the licence was denied and a decision will be deferred until 20 April in the hope a buyer will emerge to pay £6,109,200 (inclusive of VAT and fees) and keep it in the UK.

The committee made its recommendation on the grounds the painting’s departure from the UK would be a “misfortune because it is of outstanding aesthetic importance”.

De Heem, known for his smaller paintings, was one of the most important still-life painters in the 17th century. This large example of Dutch ornate still-life painting known as ‘pronkstilleven’ is one of just four he completed of this size, all done between 1640-43.

The committee agreed the “sumptuous detail of each of the elements and the extraordinarily realistic rendering of a variety of materials and textures made this an outstanding example of the pronkstilleven style composition the artist made uniquely his own”. The “possibility this was produced as a commission, potentially location-specific” added to its interest and the committee “found the painting’s long provenance in a single collection remarkable”.

The picture had probably been sold at the very start of the 19th century. It had then been bought in or around 1817 and had remained in the same family by descent to the present owner who offered it at Christie’s last year.

Arts minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said: “This captivating painting is magnificent not just in size but also in its exquisite detail. De Heem’s enormous talent is evident in this rare piece and I hope a buyer comes forward so it may be enjoyed and appreciated by viewers in the UK for many years to come.”