Ministers have moved to keep a rare drawing worth £11 million in the UK.
The 500-year-old artwork has been sold but officials have stepped in to stop the drawing being taken abroad.
A Young Man Standing, by Dutch printmaker Lucas van Leyden, is one of only 28 surviving drawings made by the 16th century artist.
Efforts are being made to raise funds to secure its future in the UK, or find a British buyer for the work.
Arts Minister Michael Ellis has placed an export ban on the piece for the benefit of the public.
Ellis said: “This incredibly rare work by Lucas van Leyden is a true treasure.
“The drawing showcases his skill as an artist and acts as a record of the 16th century world.
“I hope that we are able to keep this work in the UK so that the public can enjoy it.”
The drawing features a young man dressed in contemporary 16th century attire, sporting a sword which may mark him out as a nobleman.
Experts on the The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA), recommended that the artwork be kept in the UK.
Committee member Aidan Weston-Lewis said: “One of a small group of the artist’s drawings to have come down to us, this sheet is unlike any of the others in this country and every effort should be made to retain it.”
Van Leyden was famed as a printmaker, and was active in the Dutch city of Leiden
A decision on the export ban will be made in July, and may be extended until December to accommodate attempts to raise funds.