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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 September 2007, 05:46 GMT 06:46 UK
Bring battle painting 'into view'
The painting depicts King William III's arrival in Ireland
The painting depicts King William III's arrival in Ireland
A painting of King William of Orange heading to the Battle of the Boyne should hang in public, a nationalist assembly member has said.

The artwork has been largely hidden from public view since being bought by the Stormont Government in 1933 for 209 and four shillings.

The plea for a wider platform came after it was found hanging in the Speaker's office last month.

The SDLP's John Dallat said a prominent place in Stormont should be found.

He said it would "intrigue visitors and certainly put another slant on our previous beleaguered history".

Pope Innocent XI
A figure believed to be Pope Innocent XI appears to bless William III

The painting, which shows Pope Innocent hovering over King William en route to the Boyne battle site was vandalised the last time it was on public display at Stormont.

Red paint was thrown over the image of the Pope and it was also slashed with a knife.

After restoration, at a cost of 32 and 10 shillings, it was decided to move it to a less exposed site.

In 1975 it was hung in the Public Record Office in Belfast and remained there until 1983.

The painting, believed to be by Pieter van der Meulen, the Dutch monarch's court artist, has since been away from public view and last year sat in a room at the back of the Senate chamber in Parliament Buildings.

Alliance Party Assembly member Sean Neeson said that during the summer a request had been made for the painting to go on loan.

"Clearly it is quite a significant painting," said Mr Neeson.

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