Stolen Spencer masterpiece returned to owners
A valuable painting by one of England’s greatest 20th century artists has been returned to its owners five years after it was stolen from a gallery.
Cookham from Englefield by Sir Stanley Spencer was on loan to the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham in 2012 when thieves broke in through a window and removed it.
The owners said they were devastated at the loss of the painting, which was of great sentimental value.
However they were compensated for the loss of the painting by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport under the Government Indemnity Scheme. The scheme provides UK museums and galleries with an alternative to commercial insurance, which can be costly. It allows organisations to display art and objects that they might not have been able to borrow due to high insurance costs.
Five years after the theft of Cookham from Englefield, police discovered the painting hidden under a bed during a drugs raid on a property in West London.
A 28-year-old man was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court in October after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and acquiring criminal property. He also admitted a charge of handling stolen goods. Last month the owners were finally reunited with their painting
Detective Inspector Brian Hobbs, of the Met’s Organised Crime Command, said:
I am pleased to say that the painting has now been returned to its owners. The seizure of the painting was the result of proactive investigation by the Organised Crime Command, which resulted in a significant custodial sentence for the defendant found in possession of the painting.
Sir Stanley Spencer (1891 - 1959) was an English painter known for his works depicting Biblical scenes of his birth place Cookham. He is one of the most important artists of the 20th century and during the Second World War was commissioned by the War Artists’ Advisory Committee.