A rare painting titled “ The Madonna and the spindle” by Leonardo da Vinci was stolen on August 27th 2003 from the castle of Sir Walter Francis John Montagu Walter Scott.
The 47 x 35 work painted on wood representing the Madonna and Christ as a child holding a spindle in the shape of a cross was stolen in the morning by two men who penetrated into the Drumlanrig castle and neutralised a female warden before fleeing with two other accomplices who were waiting in a car parked outside.
Estimated between $ 70 and 90 million, the Vinci work had been painted at the same time as the Mona Lisa masterpiece now in the Louvre Museum. As such painting cannot be sold on the art market, police believe the thieves will try to obtain a ransom for it.
Sir Walter Scott,79, owns some 680 square kilometres of land in Scotland and his collection of art treasures has been estimated at $ 700 million. The collection was amassed by the Dukes of Buccleuch during over 250 years and ranks amongst the greatest in the world.
The Lloyds insurance company offered a $ 1,6 million reward to any person who would be able to give an information about the exact location of the stolen painting but police fear that the thieves might destroy the much prized work if negotiations failed regarding its restitution.