- Associated Press - Thursday, March 31, 2011

LONDON (AP) - A wealthy investor has bought a series of Francisco de Zurbaran paintings from the Anglican church for 15 million pounds ($24 million) in an unsual arrangement that would allow the works to remain on public display.

The paintings of the Old Testament figure of Jacob and his sons have been kept at the bishop’s palace in Durham, northeast England, since 1756. But earlier this year, the church opted to sell them to fund its ministry in poor areas.

Thousands of people petitioned to keep the paintings _ by Zubaran and another artist _at the castle.

Jonathan Ruffer, a 59-year-old investor, bought the religiously themed pictures, and gave them back to the palace. Talks are ongoing to see if access to the pictures _ and the castle _ can be expanded.

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