Thought to be one of the earliest paintings of a football match, this work by Scottish artist Alexander Carse sold at Bonhams sale in Edinburgh on August 23-35.

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But go back about two centuries and head to the border villages, then you really would see a proper ruck.

And the physical side of the game certainly comes across from this picture The Foot-ball Play by Scottish artist Alexander Carse (c.1770-1843). One of the earliest known paintings of a football match, it sold at BonhamsÕ sale in Edinburgh on August 23-25, making a whopping £240,000.

Painted in c.1830, it shows a contest known as a ÔstramashÕ, which would encompass a whole village, where teams compete to get a leather ball from one end of the town to the other. With the player in the white cap making a rather late and somewhat agricultural challenge on his opponent, the work demonstrates how bruising these encounters could be. Rumour has it that the game was originally played with the heads of vanquished Englishmen.

There are at least two other Carse paintings of these matches. One is now in the Dundee Museum, the other in the Robertson collection.

Consigned by a vendor whose family purchased it in 1945 in Glasgow, the 3ft 3in x 4ft 1in (99cm x 1.25m) oil on canvas smashed the record for the artist by making roughly 20 times more than any previous work by the Carse seen in the saleroom.

It came down to a competition between two UK dealers in the room.

The buyerÕs premium was 17.5/10 per cent.

By Alex Capon