Home / Funny / Viral / The Stolen Painting From Chatsworth House Finally Returned After 40 Years


Things occasionally appear when you least expect them to. This is also true in the world of art, where objects that were once thought to be lost to time or theft can suddenly resurface in strange locations. A stolen painting with connections to a mobster was found by the FBI, while Charles Darwin's notebooks found their way back to Cambridge University. Over time, other pieces that had been lost or stolen have surfaced and been given back to their original owners. A 17th-century painting that was notably stolen in 1979 and discovered in a French auction house more than 40 years later was the subject of a recent announcement from Chatsworth House, the stately historic home of the Duke of Devonshire in England. 

The small, monochromatic painting depicts two portraits of men that are displayed in ornate frames. A Double Portrait of Sir Peter Paul Rubens and Sir Anthony Van Dyck is the title of the 1640s painting. The Flemish painter and engraver Eramus Quelliness II, who studied under Rubens, captured the likeness of these well-known artists. The piece was a study that he intended to engrave.

Owing to its well-known subjects, Chatsworth House, the painting's owner, lent it to the Towner Art Gallery in 1979 for their Anthony Van Dyck exhibition. Ironically, much more expensive artwork was left behind when thieves broke into the gallery while the painting was on loan and took off with the painting. Nobody knew what happened to the painting for decades.

An art historian discovered the piece up for auction in Toulon, France, in 2021. The work was allegedly found in the Eastbourne, England, home of the seller's late parents. The origin of the work is still unknown. In order to remove the stains and flaking, the work needed extensive restoration. But after discussions, Chatsworth House has finally received the painting back.

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