THE first victory for a new art recovery company, a statue stolen from one of Yorkshire’s finest stately homes almost two years ago has been recovered in Chicago.
This week it will be reinstalled on its plinth in the grounds
of Sledmere House, near Driffield where it had previously stood for
over 100 years.
The life-size, half-ton stone figure emblematic of Autumn,
pictured here, was retrieved by an investigator from the recently
formed company Art Recovery acting on instructions from the owner
of the statue Sir Tatton Sykes, whose family has lived at Sledmere
for 250 years. The Goddess of the Harvest was probably acquired by
one of Tatton's ancestors whilst on the Grand Tour.
Local police had been alerted following the theft in December
2002, but it was only five months later that a lead was
established. An anonymous phone call was made to the stolen art
database service Trace, informing them that a statue that matched
the description had been seen on the premises of a shipping agent
Trace - who together with the international investigative service,
the James Mintz Group make up Art Recovery - made inquiries and
discovered that the statue had been sent to America and was for
sale with the Chicago garden statuary dealer. There it was quickly
identified and reclaimed with the full co-operation of the dealer.
Negotiations were then begun for its hand-over and repatriation to
"I was absolutely overjoyed when I heard the statue had been
recovered," said Sir Tatton. "It is one of the family's favourite
pieces of garden statuary and everyone was devastated when it was
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