The future of Sir Joshua Reynolds’ Omai is uncertain, but as one of the nation’s most important art works, some say it should stay in the country.
Reynolds, who painted Omai (a portrait of a Polynesian man who came to the UK with Captain Cook) in 1776, was born in Plymton on July 16, 1723.
At the moment the painting is owned by John Magnier, and is on loan to the National Gallery of Ireland until 2011, on a temporary export permit.
Magnier bought the painting in 2001, after a sale at Sothebys (it was owned by the firth Earl of Carlisle from 1796 until then), and he wanted it to reside in his private collection at his home in Dublin. He’s rejected a £12.5 million offer for the picture, to keep it in the UK, and it’s thought that if he can’t keep it in his private collection he’ll put it on the open market.