A 16th-Century Painting Stolen From An English Manor House And Later Found At A London Bus Stop Has Fetched A Staggering $22.3 Million At Auction

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A 16th-Century Painting Stolen From An English Manor House And Later Found At A London Bus Stop Has Fetched A Staggering $22.3 Million At Auction

The artwork, titled “The Rest on the Flight into Egypt,” is an early masterpiece by the renowned Italian painter Titian, depicting Jesus, Mary, and Joseph on their journey to seek refuge in Egypt.

Christie’s auction house announced the record-breaking sale on Tuesday, 22 years after the painting was recovered by a British art detective.

Originally purchased by the 4th Marquess of Bath in 1878, the painting adorned the walls of his family’s manor home for over a century. However, in 1995, it was stolen along with two other artworks from the property.

After being missing for seven years, the painting was eventually rediscovered in 2002 by Charley Hill, a celebrated art detective who collaborated with Scotland Yard.

Hill, who passed away in 2021, had offered a reward of $130,000, leading to a tip that guided him to a bus stop in London, where an elderly man was found with the painting in a shopping bag.

Reflecting on the recovery, Hill had remarked to The Telegraph that stealing such a well-known painting makes it impossible to sell discreetly, but offering a reward often prompts its return.

At the time of its retrieval, the painting was valued at over $6 million, signifying a nearly fourfold increase in value over the past two decades.

“The Rest on the Flight into Egypt” joins the ranks of other notable artworks that have been successfully recovered, such as Paul McCartney’s cherished bass guitar, which was recently reunited with him after being stolen 51 years earlier.

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