Stolen 17th Century artwork returned to Christ Church Picture Gallery

A 17th century painting by Salvator Rosa, stolen from Christ Church Picture Gallery in 2020 along with works by van Dyck and Carracci, has been recovered in Romania, but the other two paintings remain missing.

A seventeenth century painting, stolen from Christ Church Picture Gallery in 2020, has been returned.

Four years ago ‘A Rocky Coast, with Soldiers Studying a Plan’ was stolen from the gallery, which is located within Christ Church college of the University of Oxford, alongside two other paintings which have yet to be recovered. The three works had an estimated value of £10m

The Italian Baroque landscape by Salvator Rosa was handed in to authorities in Romania and recovered by officers from Thames Valley Police and Jacqueline Thalmann, curator of the gallery.

Police are now appealing for information about the two other paintings stolen in the same raid: Sir Anthony van Dyck’s ‘A Soldier on Horseback’ dating from circa 1617 and ‘A Boy Drinking’ by Annibale Carracci dating from around 1580, both of which have been on display since 1768 at Christ Church.

Romanian police were contacted by a man in possession of the Rosa painting who had sold on the other two artworks, which are understood to be somewhere in Europe, the college said.

Jacqueline Thalmann, Curator of Christ Church Picture Gallery, said: “The missing paintings have been on public view since 1768, so it’s vital that we recover them so they can be enjoyed and studied by all once more. Not only do the paintings form a significant part of our collection, but their significance to our British and European culture is inestimable.

Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector James Mather said: “While this is significant progress, two important works of art remain missing. That’s why we’re continuing to appeal for further information to assist in returning these irreplaceable artworks, which could be anywhere in Europe.”