In May 1979, Chatsworth lent an exhibition of works by Sir Anthony van Dyck to the Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne. The exhibition included a painting showing Van Dyck and Sir Peter Paul Rubens by Flemish artist Erasmus Quellinus II (1607-1678) – a preparatory work for an engraving. 

The work was stolen in a raid and, although police investigated, it was never found. Until recently.

The theft was recorded by the Art Loss Register, who hold a database of lost, stolen and looted art, antiques and collectibles. In 2021, Chatsworth was contacted by an art historian alerting us to the re-appearance of the painting at a European auction.

After three years of work with the Art Loss Register an agreement to return the painting to Chatsworth was reached. 

At some stage, the painting had sustained some damage, so it was sent to painting conservators Critchlow & Kukkonen, where it was repaired, cleaned and retouched. 

In this short film, Chatsworth's Keeper and Librarian at the time, Peter Day, recounts hearing news of the theft from the 11th Duke of Devonshire.

A Double Portrait of Sir Peter Paul Rubens and Sir Anthony Van Dyck by Erasmus Quellinus II (1607-1678), oil on panel, 1640s or 1650s 

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