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    Friday, February 24th, 2023
    SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS – ‘Portrait of Omai’

    One of the earliest great portraits of a person of colour, Sir Joshua Reynolds Portrait of Omai is the subject of a major fundraising attempt in the UK. The portrait, bought by Irish stud owner and collector John Magnier in 2001 for £10 million, is on the market for £50 million. This is more than has ever been paid for an 18th century portrait. A British government ban on the sale of the painting runs out on March 10. The National Portrait Gallery is spearheading a bid to save the work before it is sold abroad. An innovative scheme would see the portrait bought jointly by the Getty Museum in California and the National Portrait Gallery. Omai was a Polynesian Islander who sailed to Britain one of Captain Cook’s ships, arriving in 1774. He was greatly admired by British Society, and returned to Polynesia with Cook’s third voyage in 1777.