Stolen 16th-century painting sells for $22M after being recovered from a bus stop

A 16th-century painting stolen from an English manor house and later recovered at a bus stop has sold for an astonishing $22.3 million.

“The Rest on the Flight into Egypt,” is an early work by the famed Italian painter Titian that depicts Jesus, Mary and Joseph on their way to seek refuge in Egypt.

Auction house Christie’s announced the new sale on Tuesday, 22 years after the stolen piece was recovered by a British art detective.

The famed painting, completed around 1502, was the highest-priced piece to be sold at the auction and set a record for any work by Titian, Christie’s said.

A Christie's art handler poses for a photograph alongside Titian's Rest on the Flight into Egypt masterpiece,
“The Rest on the Flight into Egypt,” is an early work by the famed 16th-century Italian painter Titian depicting the Holy Family resting during their flight into Egypt.

Getty Images

The painting was bought by 4th Marquess of Bath back in 1878, before it hung in the walls of his family’s manor home for more than a century.

In 1995, however, “The Rest on the Flight into Egypt,” along with two other paintings, were stolen from the property,

The painting was missing for seven years, before it was eventually recovered in 2002 by Charley Hill, a renowned art detective who had worked with, Scotland Yard.

He issued a $130,000 reward and was contacted by a tipster.

Rest on the Flight into Egypt by Titian on display at Christie's in London
It sold for over $22.3 million this week, according to Christie’s, after being missing for several years.

PA Images via Getty Images

The anonymous tipster directed Hill to drive him around London until they stopped at a bus stop where an old man held a shopping bag containing the painting.

“​​The problem with stealing a famous painting is that there is no way you can sell it,” Hill told The Telegraph after it was recovered. “But if a reasonable reward is offered, the painting can turn up.”

Hill died in 2021.

At the time of its recovery, the painting was said to be worth more than $6 million, meaning its value has almost quadrupled in the last two decades.

“The Rest on the Flight into Egypt” isn’t the only famous piece to be recovered. Paul McCartney was recently reunited with his beloved bass he used to record hits like “Love Me Do” 51 years after it was stolen.

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