If someone asked you what the most expensive selfie in the world was, your mind would probably search out an imaginary Rihanna picture framed in diamonds, or something taken by an astronaut, or film star. But the real deal exists, it’s not quite as frivolous, and the UK don’t want it out of the country.

Kelly ClarksonKelly Clarkson Felt The Wrath of the UK After Trying To Take Jane Austen's Ring Out Of The Country

A self-portrait of Sir Anthony Van Dyck, described as “the world’s most expensive selfie”, in Britain, has become the subject of an ambitious fundraising campaign to save the painting, which has been sold to a collector who wishes to see it leave the country. It was painted by the Flemish artist shortly before he died, possibly of plague, in 1641, and has been described as “one of the finest and most important self-portraits” in British art.

“No other artist has had such a dramatic impact on British portraiture as Van Dyck,” Sandy Nairne, the National Portrait Gallery director explained. “He decisively turned it away from the stiff, formal approach of Tudor and Jacobean painting, developing a distinctive fluid, painterly style that was to dominate portraiture well into the 20th century,” he added. “It is very rare to have the opportunity to make a painting as important as Van Dyck's last self-portrait available to everyone in Britain.”

To save the painting from leaving British shores, art lovers are being implored to help financially. A Twitter hashtag has been created - #savevandyck, and £5 donations are being accepted via text message. Of course, a big donation from a wealthy anglophile wouldn’t go a miss.

Sir Andrew Motion, the former Poet Laureate and a member of the Arts Council’s national council, said: “This is a self-portrait everybody can enjoy. There is a paradox at the centre of the painting. The quality of expression appears to say ‘How dare you come into my studio and interrupt my work?’ That is combined with a mature and melancholy self-awareness. Perhaps the artists knew he would die in a short period of time?”

As we know, Britain can be hugely possessive of its key cultural pieces. Kelly Clarkson was essentially forced to give up a ring once belonging to Jane Austen after she snapped it up and planned to take it out of the country.