Current Affairs

Christ Church art heist: three valuable paintings stolen from picture gallery

Three high-value paintings were stolen from Christ Church Picture Gallery last night in a late-night heist.

Burglars broke into Christ Church gallery on St Aldates at 11pm last night, stealing three paintings from the 16th and 17th century, including a prized painting by renowned Dutch painter Sir Anthony van Dyck. 

The first Salvator Rosa’s, ‘A Rocky Coast, with Soldiers Studying a Plan’ from the late 1640s. The second, the van Dyck, ‘A Soldier on Horseback’, dated to 1616, and the third, Annibale Carracci’s ‘A Boy Drinking’, dated to 1580.

Nobody was injured during the burglary, but Christ Church has been closed to visitors and non-Christ Church students today. The JCR President told college members: “Some of you will be aware that our college was the subject of a heist last night – if anyone saw anything suspicious around the Picture Gallery or elsewhere, please let either the police or the Senior Censor know.”

Christ Church said: “​At around 11pm on Saturday 14 March, there was a break-in at Christ Church Picture Gallery. The perpetrators proceeded to take three valuable works of art. Christ Church staff alerted the police, who immediately attended the scene in order to gather evidence.”

This comes just days after the reporting of between £1000 and £2000 worth of wine mysteriously disappearing from Christ Church’s wine cellar. The college have hired a lawyer and launched an investigation.

Investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Jon Capps, said: “The paintings which have been stolen are very high-value pieces dating back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

“The artwork has not yet been recovered but a thorough investigation is underway to find it and bring those responsible to justice.

“There will be an increased police presence in the area while officer and staff carry out enquiries.

“If you saw or heard anything suspicious in the area last night, please get in touch.

“Also if you have any CCTV or other footage around the area that you think could help with the investigation, please share them with us.

“You can get in touch by calling the non-emergency number 101, or making a report online using the reference 43200087031.

“If you would prefer to remain anonymous, please contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Lois Heslop

Lois Heslop is the co-founder of The Oxford Blue and was Editor-in-Chief for HT20 and TT20. She is in her second year studying Physics at Lady Margaret Hall, and hails from South London. Her other interests include classical music and opera, and she is currently a choral scholar.