Published: 10/08/2006 00:00 - Updated: 30/11/2011 12:14

Artist's joy after stolen painting is returned

Eugenie Vronskaya with her sons Salahudin (left) and Shamil and her returned painting.
Eugenie Vronskaya with her sons Salahudin (left) and Shamil and her returned painting.

A TEANASSIE artist has spoken of her surprise and delight this week after a poignant portrait stolen from a shop in Ullapool, was mysteriously returned. The oil work, valued at £3,500, was left outside her house last Saturday afternoon, carefully wrapped, and in near perfect condition, with only a tiny scratch to show for its ordeal. To add to the baffling situation no demand has been made for the 'no questions asked' reward money the Russian-born artist, Eugenia Vronskaya revealed would be offered when she made an emotional plea through the Ross-shire Journal last month. The self-portrait, measuring 3ft by 2.5ft, was taken from Ullapool framers Clam Art last month. Following its disappearance Miss Vronskaya told how the work, which was one of a series done to mark every birthday since she was 13, had been a landmark in her collection as it captured a time in her life when she was on the verge of turning 40. The work was discovered on Saturday afternoon placed between two bins. "I can't understand the situation it is amazing and has come as a complete shock to everyone." She believes the package, which was initially spotted by her children, was dropped off sometime between 12.30pm and 2.30pm. "As soon as the children saw it they knew it was my painting," she added. "It has obviously done some travelling, to find its way here from Ullapool, but I am so grateful to whoever was responsible for bringing it back to me. It has restored my faith in humanity and I can only say a very big thank-you." In another twist to the baffling incident Miss Vronskaya revealed how she believed a mysterious phone call on Saturday could have been linked to the sudden return of the picture. Since the work was taken from the shop she has been inundated with calls from fans as well as friends and family, eager to know the fate of the picture. However one call stood out on Saturday. "I got a call in the morning from a very well spoken, educated individual who asked if I had found the painting yet," she explained. "There was nothing unusual in this but they then went on to say they were an admirer of my work and were sure it would turn up." To add to her delight the painting has been returned just in time to take pride of place at an exhibition of her work which opened at Kilmorack Gallery yesterday. Owner of Calm Art, Calum MacRae, who was devastated by the theft, said he was jumping with joy when he learned the news, but joked he took no chances when the painting was returned to him for framing earlier this week. "I was scared to let it out of my sight - I think it should have had its very own bodyguard," he joked.

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