Robert Gemmell Hutchison’s Children Wading

Robert Gemmell Hutchison’s Children Wading has been returned to Glasgow Life Museums. Image: CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection.

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Children Wading by Scottish artist Robert Gemmell Hutchison (1855-1936) was painted in Carnoustie, Angus, in summer 1918. The two girls depicted, Mary Watt and Lorna Galloway, were selected by the artist on a visit to Carnoustie Primary School.

The painting was stolen from Haggs Castle Children’s Museum in Glasgow in February 1989 and had been missing ever since.

It was recorded with the ALR and when the work was recently consigned for sale at Tennants in Leyburn, North Yorkshire, a search of the register led to it being identified.

The auction house immediately withdrew the picture from sale and the consignor was happy to return the picture to the museum once they heard what had happened. The picture had been part of their late father's estate.

Lucy O’Meara, recoveries specialist at the ALR, said: “The ALR is thrilled to have assisted the parties involved in this case on a pro-bono basis and we are very pleased that this sweet picture will be returned to public view.”

Duncan Dornan, head of Glasgow Life Museums, said: “The process of recording, cataloguing and caring for Glasgow’s Museums Collection has improved significantly since it was founded in the 1860s. For 30 years, the cataloguing of the collection has been centralised using the museum’s collection management system and storage of the collection has also been improved.

“Where historic thefts are conclusively identified, we have robust processes in place including notifying the police and adding the items to the ALR which makes it difficult to secure sales at legitimate auctions.

“We are enormously grateful for the work of the ALR and the unsuspecting vendors for the safe return of a wonderful painting.”

The painting has now been returned to Glasgow and will be accessible in Glasgow Museums Resource Centre and members of the public will be able to view it on tours.