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”.
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Three high value paintings have been stolen following a burglary at Christ Church Picture Gallery in St Aldates at around 11pm yesterday.
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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.