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Can You Help Find Stolen Spencer Painting?

(4 May 2012)

Early Sunday morning on 29th April 2012 there was a break in at the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham Village. The burglar having thrown a drain cover through a window managed to get in, in spite of the burglar alarm going off. The painting Cookham from Engelfield was stolen by the burglar who had broken the glass and discarded the frame before leaving the building


As it is virtually impossible to sell on the painting, everyone is asked to keep a look out for the painting, check their bins and also the hedgerows to ensure that the painting has not been dumped somewhere. 


Stuart Conlin, Chair of Trustees, has written the following:

The Trustees of the Gallery regret to inform you that we suffered a burglary last weekend. One painting was stolen, Cookham from Englefield, painted by Spencer in 1948. The picture, illustrated here, was removed from its frame and only the canvas stolen, which measures about 90 by 60 cm (3 by 2 feet). It was on loan to the Gallery and the owner and Gallery wish above all else to have the painting returned. Everyone who reads this is urged please to watch out for the picture in case it has been discarded and to look at the contents of their bins and skips, alleyways etc in the hope that it might turn up. Two other works suffered minor damage, and three other works have been temporarily removed from the exhibition.

Although the Gallery was breached by extreme force, the alarms system worked correctly and Gallery staff were called immediately. We are also most grateful to a witness who immediately called 999. Although the loss of this one piece is greatly regretted, our extensive security systems minimised the extent of the theft and have been adjusted to prevent a similar breach. The Arts Council England National Security Advisor has since visited the Gallery and praised our security system as being of the highest standard in the industry. He was very happy for us to reopen the Gallery, which occurred on Wednesday 2nd May.

Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses and would like to speak to anyone who saw any suspicious vehicles in the area, or a person or people acting suspiciously, around the time of the burglary, which occurred at 1 am on Sunday 29th April.

If you can help, please call Det Con Watkinson via the 24-hour Police Enquiry Centre on 101 (dial 01865 841148 from outside Thames Valley Area). He has said: "The painting is very distinctive and it holds a great deal of sentimental value to the owners. The owners and the gallery are both devastated by its loss. If you don't want to speak directly to the police you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.''
Stuart Conlin,
Chair of Trustees.

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