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Thursday, 22 August, 2002, 20:50 GMT 21:50 UK
Titian painting found in plastic bag
Rest on the Flight into Egypt by Titian
The painting was stolen from Longleat in 1995
A stolen 16th-Century painting worth more than 5m has been found in a plastic carrier bag.

The work, Rest on the Flight into Egypt by Venetian master Titian, was taken from the Longleat Estate in Wiltshire in January 1995.

The two-foot-wide painting on a wooden panel has been discovered, intact but without its frame, in the London area.

The Marquess of Bath
The Marquess of Bath is delighted
The painting was found after a seven-year search led by Charles Hill, a former Scotland Yard detective and adviser to the Historic Houses Association.

Longleat's owner Lord Bath said: "I will wait until I have been able to see it with my own eyes before I get too excited or make any further comments."

Longleat's manager Tim Moore said: "It has been a long and difficult process but we are all extremely pleased that the painting is finally safe."

He said Mr Hill had always been confident his efforts would be successful.

"He was appointed to recover the painting, he has succeeded and we are extremely grateful to him for all his hard work."

The painting will now undergo conservation work, but is not believed to have been badly damaged.

The picture was bought by the 4th Marquess of Bath in 1978.

It shows the Virgin Mary cradling Jesus with Joseph looking on.


Click here to go to BBC Wiltshire
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