Painting stolen from Great Yarmouth home after Antiques Roadshow appearance 30 years ago sold at London auction house

PUBLISHED: 08:08 15 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:10 15 October 2018

The late David Ferrow, Great Yarmouth bookseller who owned the painting when it was stolen. Photo: Archant

The late David Ferrow, Great Yarmouth bookseller who owned the painting when it was stolen. Photo: Archant


A painting stolen from a house in Great Yarmouth 30 years ago - just a week after it had appeared on Antiques Roadshow - has been sold at historic auction house Christie’s for £62,500.

A cutting from the Eastern Daily Press on January 18, 1988, covering the theft. Photo: ArchantA cutting from the Eastern Daily Press on January 18, 1988, covering the theft. Photo: Archant

Portrait of Mary Emma Jones by Emma Sandys of Norwich sold for £62,500 in July, more than double its estimate.

But the Times reported that Christie’s is now in negotiations with the family from whom it was stolen after the crime came to light.

The auction house reportedly asked the family to sign a confidentiality agreement and surrender their claim to the painting in exchange for £10,000.

But Jan Davey, 69, the daughter of the late owner and antiquarian bookseller David Ferrow said the offer had been rejected as it was too low.

She said both her and her father thought thieves had recognised the painting from an episode of Antiques Roadshow aired just a week before it was taken, where it was valued at £20,000.

The pair were out at a casino in the seaside town when thieves struck.

She told The Times: “We came back on the Saturday night and everything had gone. As soon as we got in the hall there were no pictures on the wall. We ran down the corridor and there were no pictures anywhere. The next day, putting two and two together, it was pretty obvious. The week before it had been on the TV.”

Christie’s listing for the painting said it was “recently rediscovered” and the auctioneers said staff had checked whether it was on the Art Loss Register as stolen, but it was not.

However, the register was not set up until the 1990s while the theft occurred in 1988.

A spokesman for Christie’s said: “We are working to resolve this with all parties and it would therefore not be appropriate to comment. Christie’s would never knowingly sell any work of art without correct title.”

The identity of neither the buyer, nor the seller, have been revealed.

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