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Last Updated: Monday, 14 April, 2003, 20:53 GMT 21:53 UK
'Braveheart' portrait fails to sell
William Wallace
The portrait is a rare depiction of Wallace
One of the earliest known portraits of Scots freedom fighter William Wallace failed to attract a buyer at auction on Monday.

The painting, worth an estimated 30,000, dates back to 1640 and is one of the few pictorial representations of the iconic warrior.

Wallace, immortalised in the Oscar-winning epic Braveheart, led the Scots in their battle to free themselves from English rule in the 13th century.

The portrait by Scottish artist George Jameson was up for auction in Sotheby's sale of Scottish paintings at Hopetoun House, near Edinburgh.

It's such a difficult area of identification with these early subjects that people don't always have confidence at the prices quotes
Sotheby's Harry Dalmeny

It was estimated the rare work would sell for between 20,000 and 30,000.

Sotheby's auctioneer Harry Dalmeny said it was one of the few disappointments on a night when Scottish paintings fetched more than 1m in total.

He said: "Although it is a very early and historically interesting image, it was painted long after the death of the Wallace at a time when he was starting to become an iconic figure.

"It's such a difficult area of identification with these early subjects that people don't always have confidence at the prices quotes."

Leader

Born in 1270, Wallace was incited to take up arms after his father was killed by English troops.

He rallied forces among the commoners of Scotland and led a series of attacks on English strongholds.

Wallace's finest hour came in 1297 when he attacked the English garrison at Stirling Castle.

Despite being greatly outnumbered the Scots lured the English troops into making an impulsive advance across a narrow bridge and killed around 5,000 men.

Braveheart
Mel Gibson in the film Braveheart
It was an unprecedented victory and secured Wallace's status as leader of the Scots in their struggle for independence.

Wallace ruled north of the border until he was betrayed by a Scottish knight in 1305.

He was taken to London where he was hanged, drawn and quartered.

Mel Gibson brought Wallace's story to the big screen and played the lead role in the 1995 film.

A major box office success, Braveheart won five Oscars including best film and best director.


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