£1,000 painting stolen from Ripley gallery found in Bradford

Ullswater Fells.
Ullswater Fells.

A landscape artist whose £1,000 painting was stolen has described a sense of ‘closure’ after the piece was retrieved in Bradford.

Stephen Lennon’s depiction of ‘Ullswater Fells’ was the only painting stolen when the Ripley Chantry House art gallery was broken into in May this year.

But months later, the piece which was on sale in the gallery for £995, has been recovered after a caretaker found the work of art in a derelict building in Bradford.

Mr Lennon said: “The caretaker from some old derelict building in Bradford found the painting in a disastrous state, it had been damaged probably by the glass breaking on it when it was smashed.

“The caretaker looked on the back of the painting and found my personal label and googled it and he got to the police report and took it from there.

“It was just really nice that someone took the trouble to do that.

“There is a sense of closure about it that I know what has happened. I could easily say bad things about the person who stole it but I don’t know anything about their lifestyle.

“These things happen and who am I to judge.”

But while Mr Lennon took a very accepting and forgiving approach to the crime, he explained it is important for an artist’s work to be in the hands of someone who cares about it.

He said: “It’s not so much as a sentimental attachment to the painting in this case, of course you want your painting to be on the wall of somebody who cares about them so there’s a sense when someone steals one that that aspect has been robbed because someone is enjoying it illegitimately if you like.

“A painting comes from the heart, you just expect that the purchase will be legitimate.”

But despite the positive news that it has been recovered, the damage to the painting is too bad for it to be put back on sale and Stephen is looking ahead to his next exhibition at the Headrow Gallery in Leeds from September 15 to 29.

North Yorkshire Police are continuing to investigate the matter and said that they may liase with West Yorkshire Police as enquiries progress onwards. No arrests have been made so far.