Belfast Telegraph

Stolen John Lavery painting worth £18k turns up 25 years later at Dublin sale

‘Youth And Age’ will be returned to its rightful owner, a college in England
‘Youth And Age’ will be returned to its rightful owner, a college in England
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

A painting by renowned Belfast artist John Lavery that has been missing for 25 years after it was stolen will soon be back in the hands of its rightful owners.

The portrait entitled 'Youth And Age', which dates back to 1885 and is typical of the artistic style Lavery is renowned for, has been valued at an estimated £18,000.

It disappeared from Jesuit school Stonyhurst College in Lancashire over two decades ago, but in a bizarre twist the small painting turned up at an auction house in Dublin last week.

Vigilant staff at Whyte's auctioneers had spotted the piece was in fact the painting that had been taken from the school and contacted the Garda.

Ian Whyte, the aution house's managing director, said he hopes the work will be back with Stonyhurst soon. "We hope that it will be returned to its rightful owner shortly," he said.

"Whyte's are delighted to have assisted in its recovery."

While the staff at Stonyhurst await the return of their long-lost artwork, a spokeswoman for the college told the Belfast Telegraph they are pleased the piece has been recovered.

"We were delighted to be informed that our painting 'Youth And Age' by Sir John Lavery has been rediscovered in an auction house in Dublin," she said.

"Stonyhurst College is most grateful to Mr Whyte and An Garda Siochana for their diligent assistance with this matter.

"As the issue is still under investigation we can make no further comment at this time, but we look forward very much to seeing 'Youth And Age' return home in the future."

Although Lavery left his native Belfast as a child, he never forgot his roots.

In 1929 he made a substantial donation to the Ulster Museum and was later bestowed with an honorary degree from Queen's University, and made a Freeman of Belfast.

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