Victoria & Albert Museum

Stolen and recovered by the V&A

William Etty painting recovered a week after theft


A painting by William Etty was stolen from the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), and recovered a week later.

The Art Newspaper can reveal that the theft of Woman at a Fountain took place during the night of 16/17 September, when the picture of the female nude was removed from the grand staircase of the Henry Cole Wing. This area has been closed to the public since the late 1990s.

The loss was not publicised, presumably because the thief was recorded on CCTV, and this proved to be instrumental in his arrest.

Woman at a Fountain was recovered on 25 September. The painting, dating from the late 1830s, was undamaged. The thief appeared in court on 5 December, pleading guilty, and is due to be sentenced this month. All paintings have now been removed from the grand staircase.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 176 January 2007