In January 1990 a criminal gang broke into Dunsany Castle in County Meath stealing five paintings valued at £1million.
Three of the paintings were attributed to the Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck and the other two were by Irish artist Jack B Yeats.
The paintings were part of a larger collection, widely known and valued among international art circles and the family had little hope of their return. However as a result of a police investigation the paintings were traced.
Over five years after it was stolen, ‘Lady’s Head’ was returned to owner Lord Dunsany at the family estate by Minister for Justice Nora Owen and Montreal Detective Denis Bergeron.
Detective Bergeron describes how he spent three years tracking the painting’s movements through the Canadian criminal underworld. After a tip-off in July 1994, the painting was seized on the corner of a busy Montreal street. The painting was recovered in perfect condition.
Lord Dunsany, the 19th Earl, speaking about the recovery of his paintings says
I had philosophically written them off and the insurance had paid out. So it’s just something coming back from the past. I'm delighted to have them back.
'The General' and his criminal gang were believed to have carried out the robbery. So far nobody has been charged in any country in connection with the raid.
An RTÉ News report by Mary Wilson broadcast on 16 September 1995