Over the weekend, three paintings, including a significant work by the Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck, were stolen from a gallery at Oxford University’s Christ Church college, in what local police are calling a “high-value burglary.”
Van Dyck’s A Soldier on Horseback (1616), Salvator Rosa’s A Rocky Coast, with Soldiers Studying a Plan (1640s), and Annibale Carracci’s A Boy Drinking (1580) were taken from the Christ Church Picture Gallery late Saturday night. A report by the Times estimated that the works pilfered from the British museum could be worth an estimated £10 million (or about $12.2 million).
Inspector Jon Capps, of the Thames Valley Police, said 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. There will be an increased police presence in the area while officers and staff carry out enquiries.” Police are currently appealing for any information from the public on the break-in, and officials have not yet provided an explanation for how the thieves entered the museum and how the works were taken.
A Christ Church college spokesperson told the Guardian that the gallery will be closed until further notice.
The paintings by Carracci and Van Dyck were among a bequest of General John Guise in 1765 of more than 200 paintings and nearly 2,000 drawings to Oxford University. Rosa’s A Rocky Coast was bequeathed by Sir Richard Nosworthy in 1966. Van Dyck’s current auction record stands at $13.5 million, for a self-portrait sold at Sotheby’s London auction house in 2009.