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Art thieves steal dog paintings


Art thieves have stolen £35,000 worth of oil paintings from a historic hotel in the heart of the Highlands. Glengarry Castle Hotel, which lies on the shores of Loch Oich, was targeted in late January when it was closed to guests over winter.

George Armfield paintingThe intruders managed to make off with the paintings without alerting the hotel caretaker, who was the only person in the building at the time. The haul included two sporting dog painting by Victorian artist George Armfield.

Hotel manager Donald MacCallum, whose family has owned the estate for half a century, said he was devastated at the loss. He added: "The thieves took a total of four of our collection of oil paintings. These four are valued at around £35,000.

"Two of them by George Armfield were very large, four foot by three foot. These were placed above the fireplace in the lounge and library and attracted a lot of attention from guests.

"These main ones were of hunting scenes. One showed a grouse that had been shot with dogs jumping around it. The other showed three dogs around a table looking guilty as they had obviously pulled some dead grouse off it.

"They were impressive paintings and very fitting for this house. They will be very much missed." Of the other smaller paintings, one was by an artist called William Kennedy and showed a scene of a man ploughing fields.

Commenting on the theft on the ‘art hostage’ website a specialist said, 'The two Armfield paintings were the most valuable things in the Hotel and were probably targeted specifically. The other paintings were likely to have been stolen as an afterthought.

'Sold on to a criminal Art handler, these paintings will adorn the walls of an unsuspecting new money collector, or be shipped out of the country to America/Japan where these kind of big impressive paintings are sought after. So, don't be surprised to hear of these paintings being traced to America/Japan in the future.'

'If these Armfield paintings are discovered in Japan, then unfortunately, under Japanese law the buyer will have legal title to them, strange as that may seem.'

It seems the targeting of hotels is much more common than many think. A hit list is held by the Criminal Underworld of Hotels with valuable artworks displayed and attempts are made to steal them until successful. Once again the internet and hotel sites have made this an easy steal for the unscrupulous.