The Duke of Wellington, Kidnapped!: The Incredible True Story of the Art Heist That Shocked a Nation

The Duke of Wellington Kidnapped The Incredible True Story of the Art Heist That Shocked a Nation In a thief broke into the National Gallery in London and committed the most sensational art heist in British history He stole the museum s much prized painting The Duke of Wellington by Francis

  • Title: The Duke of Wellington, Kidnapped!: The Incredible True Story of the Art Heist That Shocked a Nation
  • Author: Alan Hirsch Noah Charney
  • ISBN: 9781619025912
  • Page: 472
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Duke of Wellington, Kidnapped!: The Incredible True Story of the Art Heist That Shocked a Nation

    In 1961, a thief broke into the National Gallery in London and committed the most sensational art heist in British history He stole the museum s much prized painting, The Duke of Wellington by Francisco Goya Despite unprecedented international attention and an unflagging investigation, the case was not solved for four years, and even then, only because the culprit came fIn 1961, a thief broke into the National Gallery in London and committed the most sensational art heist in British history He stole the museum s much prized painting, The Duke of Wellington by Francisco Goya Despite unprecedented international attention and an unflagging investigation, the case was not solved for four years, and even then, only because the culprit came forward voluntarily Kempton Bunton, an elderly gentleman, claimed he executed the theft armed with only a toy gun, a disguise purchased for five shillings, and a getaway car inadvertently provided by a drunkard Shortly after turning himself in, Bunton also invoked language in an obscure law to maintain his innocence, despite the confession He did not allege that the confession was false, but rather that stealing the painting did not constitute a crime because he intended to return it On account of this improbable defense strategy, the story took another twist, resulting in a bizarre courtroom drama and extraordinary verdict.Over fifty years later, Alan Hirsch decided to explore the facts behind this historic case and uncovered shocking new evidence that both solved the crime and deepened the mystery.

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    One thought on “The Duke of Wellington, Kidnapped!: The Incredible True Story of the Art Heist That Shocked a Nation

    1. Margaret Sankey

      Only weeks after the British nation raised the money to stop the export of Goya's portrait of the Iron Duke to America, a thief got into the gallery via an unlocked bathroom window and made off with him! Over the next four years, the authorities got messages, sometimes via newspapers, that the painting was being held for an odd ransom--the suspension of the TV tax for pensioners. Forbidden by law to negotiate with kidnappers or extortionists, the police just bided their time, and the painting wa [...]

    2. Jo

      This would have been a great New Yorker length article, but the author did not have enough story to sustain a book of this length. He was under the erroneous impression that readers would want a blow by blow description of the trial, and analysis of each side's legal strategy.

    3. Douglas Welch

      How, in 1961, did an unimposing, middle-aged man from Newcastle commit a crime that no one has accomplished before or since — stealing a painting from London’s National Gallery? How then did this man, with the somewhat Dickensian name of Kempton Bunton, hold the painting — Goya’s Portrait of the Duke of Wellington — for ransom for 4 years, only to return it — unpaid — and turn himself in to the authorities? How could this story — which dominated the headlines for years — be los [...]

    4. Elizabeth Butcher

      My actual rating is 1.5 stars.The biggest mystery to me was why this book does not include a complete image of the painting or photos of any of the people involved in the theft and eventual return of the painting. I almost quit reading at about the halfway point in the book. I wish that I had read other reviews before starting to read this book.

    5. Keith

      On July 19, 1965, the unlikely Kempton Bunton – 61 years old, weighing nearly 250 pounds – turned himself in for single-handedly stealing Goya’s Duke of Wellington. The heist had created an international sensation four years earlier. While many suspected the theft was done by a cabal of criminal geniuses (i.e Dr. Moriarty meets Dr. No), here stood a quirky, life-long loser who wanted free TV for pensioners. And he was their man. Hirsch’s book provides the unusual story behind the theft a [...]

    6. Gail

      I actually stopped reading this book when there were only twelve more pages to go. I really don't know why I didn't stop sooner than that. The most interesting part of this book is before the courtroom scene. In the beginning, you find out that this is the only book that has ever been written about this case. That, alone, should have warned me. Alan Hirsch is not a good writer; in fact, he's quite repetitious. He states the same facts over and over again ad nauseum. It becomes quite deadly to re [...]

    7. Raymond

      I reeeeaaaaally wanted to like this one. I'm seeing others had the same issues I did - that it may have been a great long magazine article or short book, but there just isn't enough meat on the bones of this story to fill a 250+ page book. The author bounces back and forth between the unpublished memoirs of the "master thief" and various public records. As a result, the story unfolds in a non-linear fashion. Normally I have no issues with such a device, but the narrative just doesn't gel here.

    8. Paula

      I've read many true art crime stories but I cannot recommend this one. Less than half way through the narrative the author became bogged down in the court room and related events. I was bored to tears. Thus would have made a very good magazine article, but not a book. Disappointing.

    9. John

      I learned way way way too much about art theft. Just couldn't wait for it to end. It was just a random choice at the library but I finished it and was glad when it was over.

    10. MelanieHilliard

      So very much potential, such great source material, such disappointing execution. Spoiler alert: there once was a man whose personal cause was free BBC licensing for old age pensioners.

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