Glasgow & West Scotland

Three stolen paintings returned to Kelvingrove gallery

One of the pictures which was stolen
Image caption One of the pictures which was stolen

Three stolen works of art have been recovered more than 15 years after they were taken from museums in Glasgow.

The three paintings were retrieved as part of an continuing investigation with Strathclyde Police and Lothian and Borders Police.

One is by the Scots colourist, Samuel Peploe, another by French artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, and a third by Italian painter, Federico Barocci.

The paintings, worth £200,000, are now back in Glasgow museums.

The case surrounding the missing artworks dates back to 1996.

An auditors' report alleged that a number of works of art had been removed from the Glasgow Museums collection, and offered for sale on the black market.

Painting seized

The auditors concluded that the arrangements for recording artefacts, and how they were stored, were unsatisfactory.

The case took another turn in November last year when a senior curator at Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum noticed the Corot included in a sale by Edinburgh-based Lyon and Turnbull auction house.

When police recovered the painting, the auctioneers confirmed they had sold another work, the Peploe, from the same source.

It is understood that the Barocci painting was later recovered from the source's home.

The Peploe was seized at a Glasgow art gallery owned by Ewan Munday.

Mr Munday confirmed to BBC Scotland that he bought the Peploe at auction last year.

He said police had given him convincing proof the work was one of a number of items missing since the 1990s.

He is now pursuing a legal action against an auction house, which has has not named.

A spokesman for Glasgow Life, the body which looks after public museums, said: "We're very grateful for the work of the police in bringing these paintings home to Glasgow.

"However, every praise should be reserved for our senior curator whose keen eye illuminated the fact that the stolen Corot was up for auction. Without his wealth of knowledge and expertise, the works may still have been hanging elsewhere.

"We will continue to work with UK police forces to ensure any stolen item is returned to Glasgow and we are grateful to the galleries who have readily assisted in this matter."

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