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Stolen Old Masters found in London vault head back to Italy

In June, the Art Loss Register (ALR) recovered two Old Master paintings, stolen in Italy in 1994, in a vault in London’s Hatton Gardens.

The early 17th-century works, Aniello Falcone’s Battle Scene (undated), estimated to be worth between €80,000 and €130,000, and Concert with four people and a drinker (undated), attributed to the workshop of Valentin de Boulogne and valued at between €10,000 and €30,000, were stolen in Rome in 1994, from an accountant’s office and from the offices of the country’s former prime minister, Emilio Colombo. They were rediscovered when their current owner, a British man who had bought the works in good faith and had no connection to the thefts, started researching their provenance on the ALR’s website with the intention of eventually selling them on.

A spokesperson for the ALR, which runs the world’s largest private database of stolen and looted works, says that these are the largest works recovered since the company was founded 26 years ago. Both works have been returned to Italy and are currently undergoing restoration due to the considerable damage incurred during the thefts, possibly due to their size: Falcone’s work is 150cm x 205cm, while De Boulogne’s workshop painting also stands tall at 103cm x 148cm.