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Renowned Paintings, Including 17th Century Van Dyck Masterpiece, Stolen in Late Night Heist

© AP Photo / Kirsty WigglesworthU.S. first lady Michelle Obama, centre rear, speaks to children from Elizabeth Garrett Anderson school in London as they visit Christ Church College in Oxford, England, Wednesday, May 25, 2011.
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, centre rear,  speaks to children from Elizabeth Garrett Anderson school in London as they visit Christ Church College in Oxford, England, Wednesday, May 25, 2011. - Sputnik International
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Among the paintings stolen by the as-yet-unidentified burglars is the Flemish artist's work, said to be valued in excess of £1 million, along with two other canvases that date from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

University of Oxford’s Christ Church College picture gallery on Saturday saw the theft of three high-value paintings, including Van Dyck’s ‘A Soldier On Horseback’, painted around 1616.

​“At around 11pm on Saturday 14 March, there was a break-in at Christ Church Picture Gallery,” the college said in a statement. “The perpetrators proceeded to take three valuable works of art. Christ Church staff alerted the police, who immediately attended the scene in order to gather evidence”.

Along with the Van Dyck painting, the thieves also went away with ‘A Boy Drinking’, painted by Annibale Carracci in 1580, and Salvator Rosa’s ‘A Rocky Coast, With Soldiers Studying a Plan’, which dates from late 1640s.

A spokesperson for Christ Church College said that the gallery would be closed until further notice.

“The paintings which have been stolen are very high-value pieces dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries,” said investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Jon Capps, of the Thames Valley Police, in a statement. “The artwork has not yet been recovered but a thorough investigation is under way to find it and bring those responsible to justice”.

Capps noted that there would be “an increased police presence in the area” while police officers and staff of the gallery carry out inquiries among locals.

He urged those who “saw or heard anything suspicious” in the area that night that they think could help with the investigation, particularly those with CCTV or other video from anywhere near the gallery, to contact police.

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