Van Dyck painting stolen from University of Oxford gallery

image source, Christ Church Picture Gallery
image captionA Soldier On Horseback by Anthony Van Dyck was painted around 1616

A work by 17th century master Anthony Van Dyck is among three "very high value" paintings stolen from a University of Oxford art gallery.

A Soldier On Horseback by the Flemish artist, a leading court painter in England under King Charles I, dates from around 1616.

Two other works were stolen from Christ Church Picture Gallery, St Aldates, at about 23:00 GMT on Saturday.

Police said a "thorough investigation" was under way to recover the paintings.

image source, Christ Church Picture Gallery
image captionSalvator Rosa's A Rocky Coast, With Soldiers Studying A Plan was painted in the late 1640s

The burglars also made off with A Boy Drinking (c. 1580) by Annibale Carracci, and A Rocky Coast, With Soldiers Studying a Plan (late 1640s) by Salvator Rosa.

A Christ Church College spokesman said staff had initially alerted police to the theft of the "important cultural artefacts", and the gallery will be closed until further notice.

Det Ch Insp Jon Capps, from Thames Valley Police, said: "The paintings which have been stolen are very high-value pieces dating back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

"The artwork has not yet been recovered but a thorough investigation is under way to find it and bring those responsible to justice."

image source, Christ Church Picture Gallery
image captionAnnibale Carracci painted A Boy Drinking around 1580

He added there would be an increased police presence in the area, and that any witnesses or anyone with CCTV or other footage from near the area should get in touch.

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