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My Omai The National Portrait Gallery has been granted an extension to come up with the remaining cash to save Joshua Reynold’s 7ft Portrait of Omai.

Castle keep A painting by the wartime leader Winston Churchill (1874-1965) of a Kent castle has gone on show at the building which inspired it.

Dating from the 1930s, the oil painting, View through an Arch at Hever shows the Italian Garden at Hever Castle at the time it was owned by Churchill’s close friends Lady Violet Astor and her husband.

A temporary export bar imposed on the 18th-century painting in March 2022 expired earlier this month but the government has granted an extension to give the gallery time to raise a further £25m

SHINE A LIGHT The Museum of London Docklands unveils a free exhibition this month exploring the little-known history of Indian indenture in the British Caribbean.

Churchill regularly visited Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, from his nearby home, Chartwell.

The painting was unveiled by the current Lord and Lady Astor on March 29 and can be seen in the castle’s inner hall. The 13th-century moated castle is in Hever near Edenbridge.

Following the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, British planters in the Caribbean devised a new scheme to source cheap labour by recruiting workers from India in return for transport, a minimal wage and some basic provisions. With the British government’s backing, the first indenture ships, the Hesperus and Whitby, set sail in 1838. Over the next 80 years, until 1917, some 450,000 Indians undertook the arduous five-month journey. Indo + Caribbean: The creation of a culture, takes place at the museum from May 19 to September 19.

Above Churchill’s View through an Arch at Hever has gone on show at Hever Castle Above Zainab (Jane) Gani in Guyana © The

Gani Family needed to secure the British cultural treasure. Polynesia-born Omai arrived in London in 1774 in his early 20s to raise arms to fight the neighbouring Bora Borans. The portrait was painted in around 1775, one of 12 portraits exhibited by Reynolds at the Royal Academy’s eighth exhibition in 1776, to great acclaim. When Omai returned to Polynesia the artist kept it in his studio until his own death in 1792.

Left Sir Joshua Reynolds Portrait of Omai, c 1776, oil on canvas. Image courtesy of the owner

Gallery view A London gallery has launched a new division to capitalise on the growing demand for old master paintings. Saatchi Yates in Mayfair has launched a new “Masters” division headed byJoseph Friedman, a former senior director of Sotheby’s, who has spent 30 years as an art market professional working with some of the world’s foremost public and private collections.

Under his steer Saatchi Yates Masters will source exceptional works from the 18th century to the mid20th century. The term “old masters” refers to eminent European artists from the Renaissance through to early modernism, roughly 1300 to 1800.

Above The Mayfair gallery Saatchi Yates has launched a new division for old master paintings

30 seconds with... Stephanie Connell who recently swapped her career as an auctioneer to open her own antiques business How did you start in the business? I dreamt of working with antiques since I was small. When I got the opportunity as a school girl to do work experience at my local auction house I jumped at the chance. Years later the same auction house gave me my first full-time job in the industry.

How does opening your own business compare with being an auctioneer and valuer? Working at a major auction house gave me invaluable experience at the highest level, collaborating with countless experts. My own business takes all the knowledge I gained over a decade in the industry and channels it into a personal level of service.

What has been your greatest find? I’ve been lucky in my career to have made several genuinely special finds. For example, I discovered an incredibly rare Lawrence of Arabia 1960s large ‘six-sheet’ film poster. It is possibly the last remaining of its type and eventually sold for over £25,000.

What would you most like to find? I would love to find something that is considered lost: Doctor Who episodes missing from the BBC archive, furniture designed by Francis Bacon, pieces from the collection of the Regency designer Thomas Hope (1769–1831) – there are so many.

Do you collect? If so, what? Illustration art, posters, memorabilia, prints and art glass are all part of my ever-growing collection at home.

For more information go to www. To see Stephanie’s article on coronation furniture turn to page 18


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