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“We had everything organised to make the auction a grand event open to the public but our responsibility is to accept the decision of the sellers, our clients.”

French auctioneer Marc Labarbe on the private sale of the “Toulouse Caravaggio” two days before its appearance on the open market.

“The search for Velázquez’s portrait of Donna Olimpia is finally over… Its recent rediscovery represents a highly significant addition to the great Spanish master’s oeuvre and the painting can be counted amongst only a handful of works by the artist remaining in private hands today.”

James Macdonald, Sotheby’s senior specialist of Old Master paintings, on the rediscovered portrait which goes under the hammer in the coming week.  

“The statue is very precious to the village firstly because it watches over the names of those on the memorial who lost their lives in the wars and also because it was made and given by the artist Edward Aveling Green in 1921 who was a resident here. It is therefore irreplaceable.”

Venetia Barrington, on behalf of the Parochial Church Council on a statue of Saint Michael the Archangel stolen for the second time from St John the Baptist Church in Eversholt.

“A highly sophisticated international organised crime group known to the authorities for committing a large number of burglaries throughout Europe.”

The European Union’s Judicial Cooperation Unit in a statement about the gang believed to be behind a €2m theft of rare books and manuscripts in 2017.