A Government minister has moved to block the export of a Pre-Raphaelite painting valued at £9.5 million in the hope of a UK buyer being found.

Ferdinand Lured By Ariel, an 1850 work by John Everett Millais, a founder of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, is at risk of being taken out of the country.

It depicts the character of Ferdinand from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest and is described as an “epitome of its type and of Englishness”.

Ferdinand Lured by Ariel
A temporary export bar has been placed on the artwork (PA)

Arts Minister Rebecca Pow has placed a temporary export bar on the artwork to provide an opportunity to keep the painting in the country.

She said: “Millais is one of the most famous and recognisable members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with his work still aweing audiences hundreds of years later.

“This artistic movement is a key part of British history and this is why we must keep this important work in the country.”

Ferdinand Lured By Ariel shows Ferdinand washed up on Prospero’s enchanted island after being shipwrecked in a storm.

Prospero’s servant, Ariel, whispers in Ferdinand’s ear that his father has drowned.

Ms Pow’s decision follows the advice of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA).

The decision on an export licence for the painting has been deferred until November 15 and may be extended to May next year in a bid to raise the funds needed to keep it in the UK.