A Twickenham art historian said she has not given up hope that a painting of an historic borough location will stay in the country, but admitted it was out of her hands.

Reports emerged late last month that a work by the celebrated English artist JMW Turner entitled Pope’s Villa at Twickenham is to be exported to America by its owners.

The painting of the home of poet Alexander Pope on the river at Twickenham, the remains of which are now part of St James’s Boys School in Cross Deep, had been on display at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire for more than 160 years, but was sold at auction last summer for £5.4m.

The Government’s independent committee on the sale of art overseas temporarily barred its export, but the bar runs out on February 9 and, if there is no real interest by then, the culture department is unlikely to extend it – allowing the painting to leave the country.

Catherine Parry-Wingfield, of Montpelier Row, said saving the painting was not something one person could do on their own.

Mrs Parry-Wingfield, of the Friends of Turner’s House and Sandycoombe Lodge Trust – groups working to preserve Turner’s former home in Sandycoombe Road, said: “It is something that has to be done in league with a big institution.

“Nothing can happen unless and institution can act as a host.

“The arts fund can’t start a fund unless a gallery said ‘we really want it but can’t afford it’ – then they would get involved.

“It’s not something one person like me can do on their own, but we have not given up yet.”

Earlier this week the painting Diana and Actaeon by Titian was saved after £50m was raised in just over four months when its owner, the Duke of Sutherland, offered to sell the painting and its companion picture, Diana and Callista, to the nation for £100m.

Mrs Parry-Wingfield said: “It’s a very important painting.

“Pope’s Villa at Twickenham is a painting in which Turner lamented the loss not just of a building but of the genius of the place, and of literary history.

“It would be tragic if the painting and all it imbues should itself be lost to England.”