Stolen Baroque painting returned to the United Kingdom with support from Eurojust

19 April 2024|PRESS RELEASE

Flags of UK and Romania, logos of Europol and EurojustThe seventeenth century painting ‘A Rocky Coast, with Soldiers Studying a Plan’ has been safely returned to the United Kingdom from Romania with the support of Eurojust. The Italian Baroque landscape by Salvator Rosa was stolen from the Christ Church Picture Gallery in Oxford in March 2020. The Agency supported the investigation and played a key role in facilitating cross-border judicial cooperation between the national authorities involved.

The handover of the painting took place on 26 March 2024 at the National Museum of Art, Bucharest, between Thames Valley Police, Romanian Police, Christ Church College and the Romanian Ministry of Culture. This was assisted by the National Crime Agency’s International Liaison Network.

The UK authorities are appealing for information about two other paintings stolen in the same raid: ‘A Soldier on Horseback’ by Anthony van Dyck, dating from around 1616, and ‘A Boy Drinking’ by Annibale Carracci, dating from around 1580.

Returned, stolen painting
© Thames Valley Police

The Romanian police were contacted by a man in possession of the Rosa painting, who had sold on the other two artworks, which are understood to be somewhere in Europe. He chose to return the Rosa painting to the authorities. The man is being treated as a witness by the Romanian authorities and has not been arrested.

The three works had an estimated value of GBP 10 million (EUR 11.7 million).

The case was opened at Eurojust at the request of the United Kingdom. The Agency helped the national authorities involved to coordinate their investigations and to resolve the legal problems related to the different national laws. Eurojust assisted the UK authorities in drafting a letter of restitution for the Romanian authorities so that the painting could be returned promptly to Oxford Christ Church.

This investigation was also supported by Europol.

The following authorities took part in this investigation:

  • Romania: Public Prosecutor’s Office attached to Ilfov Tribunal (PPO), Romanian Police Directorate for Investigating Economic Crime (IGPR – DICE)
  • United Kingdom: Thames Valley Police, National Crime Agency International Liaison Network