The British Government have announced today that a temporary export bar will be put on ‘Child with a Dove’, an early work by Pablo Picasso, in an attempt to keep it in the UK.

The painting was purchased by an unnamed foreign buyer from Christie’s auction house earlier this year. Now Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has restricted the exportation of the work, which has been displayed in public galleries since the 1970s, in a bid to keep in the country.

The oil painting is an important work from Picasso’s Blue Period painted in 1901, when the master was only 19 years old. There are only five early oil paintings by Picasso in UK public permanent collections and ‘Child with a Dove’ has been declared a work of outstanding significance for the study of Picasso’s early works and artistic development, and British collecting of European avant-garde in the early twentieth century.

Vaizey announced today that the decision on the export licence application would be deferred until the 16th of December. It is hoped that British cultural institutions may collectively be able to raise the funds to keep the painting within the public domain. The painting is estimated to be worth £50 million.