Stolen painting returned over 30 years after mysterious art heist

The painting will be accessible in Glasgow Museums Resource Centre.

Painting by Scottish artist stolen in art heist 30 years ago returned to Glasgow Museums CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

A painting stolen during a museum heist more than 30 years ago has been returned after being put up for auction.

The painting by Scottish artist Robert Gemmell Hutchison titled “Children Wading”, was stolen from Haggs Castle Children’s Museum in Glasgow in 1989.

It had been missing ever since, until a surprising turn of events saw the painting consigned for sale at Tennant’s Auctioneers.

The auction house worked with the Art Loss Register to identify that the painting was a match to the one stolen nearly 35 years ago.

Tennant’s immediately withdrew the picture from sale after their discovery.

The consignor confirmed that the painting had formed part of their late father’s estate and was “happy” to see the painting returned to Glasgow after they learned of its shocking history.

The Art Loss Register (ALR) announced that the painting has been returned to Glasgow.

Lucy O’Meara, recoveries specialist at the ALR, said the team was “thrilled” to have assisted in the case.

“We are very pleased that this sweet picture will be returned to public view.”

Duncan Dornan, head of Glasgow Life Museums, said they were “enormously grateful” for the work the ALR and vendors did on getting the painting returned.

“The process of recording, cataloguing and caring for Glasgow’s Museums Collection has improved significantly since it was founded in the 1860s.

“For 30 years, the cataloguing of the collection has been centralised using the Museum’s
Collection Management System and storage of the collection has also been improved.

“Where historic thefts are conclusively identified, we have robust processes in place including notifying the police and adding the items to the Art Loss Register which makes it difficult to secure sales at legitimate auctions.

“This is exactly the process which has led to the return of Children Wading by Robert Gemmel Hutchison to Glasgow.”

The painting will be accessible in Glasgow Museums Resource Centre, their pioneering open access store, and members of the public will be able to view it on tours.

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