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Stolen painting had huge personal value, says owner
THE owner of a stolen painting has told of the huge personal value it has for her and her family and appealed for its return.
A thief took Cookham from Englefield from the volunteer-run Stanley Spencer Gallery on April 29 during the early hours.
This week one national newspaper speculated that it could be valued at £1m.
But the Marlow Free Press understands this valuation is wide of the mark and the painting has never actually been valued.
Sue Elsden, who loaned the piece to the gallery in the 1990s, spoke this week of the enormous meaning it has for her family.
The painting was commissioned by her grandfather Gerard Shiel, who was a friend of Sir Stanley and a founder member of the gallery, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The artwork depicts a scene from Mr Shiel's grounds at Englefield House.
Mrs Elsden, a designer, 58, said: “It was so much a personal painting and one which so much belonged in Cookham because it's a painting of my grandfather's garden.
“It featured the cedar tree, which was a distinctive feature of Cookham and has now been taken down sadly.
“We lost the original tree and now we've lost the painting that featured the tree. It's a very distinctive painting.
“It was very much a view that Stanley loved and my grandfather loved too.”
She urged the culprit to hand it back.
“I would say please return it because it's of huge sentimental value,” she said.
The oil on canvas painting, created in 1948, was taken after a window was smashed at the gallery.
However, the trustees have emphasised their security arrangements are top notch and have been inspected by the leading art security experts.