Page last updated at 17:01 GMT, Wednesday, 30 September 2009 18:01 UK

Knights' shields sold for 7500

Shields
The shields were found in the attic of Skelmorlie Castle

A trustee of the National Galleries of Scotland has paid £7500 for eight shields created for a 19th Century Scottish jousting tournament.

The trophies were commissioned by the 13th Earl of Eglinton for his three-day medieval re-enactment in 1839.

Eight of the original 40 shields, which were found in the attic of Skelmorlie Castle, Ayrshire, were expected to fetch up to £5,000 at the auction.

Art expert James Knox beat two English based dealers to win the auction.

He wants to sue them to help raise £85,000 to keep a set of watercolours of the tournament for the nation.

He said: "It would have been a real tragedy for Scotland if these shields had left the country.

"Now we've got the shields, the next stage is to raise the money secure the watercolours."

The shields will feature in Mr Knox's planned fund-raising campaign, and will form part of an exhibition on the Eglington Tournament which Mr Knox hopes to stage at a top Scottish museum once the watercolours are saved.

About 100,000 people are thought to have attended the Eglinton tournament.

The event, which cost £40,000, was intended as a display of medieval pageantry.

About 150 prospective knights were originally lined up, although only 14 took part.

The shields were sold by Lyon and Turnbull auctioneers in Edinburgh.



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