A portrait of Admiral Lord Nelson has sold for £800 at a Shropshire auction house.

Art experts believe the bicentenary of Nelson this year had a major influence on the price for the late 19thcentury portrait.

The painting, oil on board, by an unknown English artist, was expected to fetch a maximum of £400 at Halls Fine Art's auction of affordable pictures in Shrewsbury.

Consigned by a Shrewsbury vendor, it measures 33 x 21 inches and has an arched top. It shows Nelson standing before palm trees with ships engaged in battle in the distance, and was snapped up by an avid local collector of ' Nelsonalia' despite strong competition.

Halls Fine Art's paintings expert William Lacey said: "It was a very good time to sell the painting with the bicentenary of Nelson's death creating a lot of interest."

Arguably Britain's greatest naval hero, Admiral Nelson died at the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21, 1805, having repelled Napoleon's planned invasion.

In the same auction, a watercolour of Conway Castle by Harry Goodwin, discovered behind a framed photograph which had fallen from a wall in a Shrewsbury home, also sold for £400 to a North Wales collector.

A 17th-century Dutch oil painting of a town with a fortified river bridge, church and buildings fetched £1,050.