Thieves steal limited edition Walter Holmes print from art exhibition in Ponteland

Sneak thieves struck and stole a limited edition print at an art exhibition at St Mary’s Church Hall in Ponteland

Painting, titled Seaton Sluice, by Northumberland artist Walter Holmes
Painting, titled Seaton Sluice, by Northumberland artist Walter Holmes

Sneak thieves struck and stole a limited edition print at an art exhibition.

Artist Walter Holmes, who has been painting for more than 50 years, was one of 12 painters involved in an exhibition at St Mary’s Church Hall in Ponteland which saw scores of people flock to admire the artwork.

But little did he expect his work would be stolen during the community event, which tied in with the local flower show.

It was only after the exhibition had came to an end on Sunday and they packed up the pictures and took them home that they discovered a limited edition print of Seaton Sluice was missing.

Wife Helen, of Darras Hall, Northumberland, said: “The church hall opened to the public on July 25 and finished on July 28 so it must have happened some time between then.

“Unfortunately it wasn’t noticed until we brought things home.

“We should have unpacked things on the Sunday evening when we returned home but our son is back from Afghanistan, he is a soldier, so we were spending time with him so we didn’t unpack until the Monday morning.”

The exhibition was organised by a group of 12 artists from Network Artists Ponteland to celebrate the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to the North East.

Using the Gospels as a theme for their work, they set about creating a unique collection of paintings and drawings that went on display at the hall along with other work by each artist.

Mr Holmes’ stolen print, which is 250mm by 350mm, is one of 50 limited editions of the Seaton Sluice scene – number 28 of 50 – which has been a popular piece with fans of the artist.

“It’s very, very disappointing because some of the proceeds were going to charities like the RNLI, the West End Refugee Service and towards the church hall refurbishment,” added Mrs Holmes.

She said: “It’s not the value, it’s the fact that it was taken from a charitable event. You really don’t expect something like this but I suppose the age we live in, nothing should be a surprise.

“We have already alerted local artists, framers and galleries about it in case anyone tries to take it in so it will be recognised.

A police spokesman said: “Between 11am Thursday, July 25, and 4pm Sunday, July 28, thieves stole a picture from the St Mary’s Church parish hall meeting place in Thornhill Road, Ponteland. The picture is of Seaton Sluice and had been part of an exhibition at the hall.”

Anyone with any information is asked to call police on 101 ext 69191.

You don’t expect something like this but the age we live in, nothing should be a surprise

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