Page last updated at 12:31 GMT, Friday, 27 November 2009

Museum in bid to secure painting

painting of Lord Jacob Astley
A re-enactment society has already pledged 2,000

A Berkshire museum is in a race against time to secure a historic painting for its collection.

West Berkshire Museum in Newbury has four weeks to find £16,000 to buy the 1640 painting of Lord Jacob Astley, a commander of the Royalist Infantry.

Lord Astley was an important figure in both battles of Newbury during the English Civil War.

The painting is being sold by London dealer Philip Mould who has agreed to hold the painting until Christmas.

He played a key role in the second battle in 1644 when he earned his title.

West Berkshire Council, which owns the museum, is urging people to donate to the fund.

If successful, the painting will go on show at Shaw House, an Elizabethan mansion near Newbury, in February 2010.

The Sealed Knot re-enactment society has already pledged £2,000 to the fund.

The council is offering to reward donors with benefits including VIP tours and event tickets.

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