Rare silk hangings depicting scenes from the Temple in Jerusalem have been saved for the nation by a mystery buyer who has paid £120,000 to stop them going abroad.
The seven hand-embroidered tapestries, made in the 18th century, probably in Italy or Holland, have belonged to a private owner in Britain for the past 50 years.
They were put up for sale in March, but Culture Minister Ed Vaizey stepped in to prevent them being sold abroad, explaining that they had “outstanding significance for the study of Jewish ritual art.”
The initial export ban ended in May but was extended to August 20 in a bid to find a buyer who would allow them to remain in Britain.
This week, the Arts Council announced that “the items will be staying in the country”, having been bought by an unnamed UK-based buyer.
An Arts Council spokesman also confirmed that “the works will be put on public display”.