Suara.com – “If we take his painting, what’s the best way to blur it?”
“We’ll go there,” he said, pointing to my right, “because we can go straight to the second floor, then to the men’s bathroom. There’s a ladder in the back, a ladder built since 1961.”
The man who told me how to steal the painting knew very well what he was talking about. His grandfather was the thief of the famous painting by Spanish artist Francisco Goya, entitled Portrait of the Duke of Wellington. He stole it from the National Gallery of London.
Six decades after that only robbery at a London art museum, Christopher Bunton, the thief’s grandson, has finally revealed the full story of what really happened.
Regent of Borong 15 Paintings of General Sudirman by the Painter of Purbalingga
His father told him about the theft when Christopher was 14 years old. Christopher then did further research and proposed the idea to make a film.
“I feel a lot of the information released to the public is accurate, but much of it is speculation and a bit unfair to my grandfather,” he said.
Painting Duke of WellingtonChristopher said, was taken from London’s National Gallery and placed in his grandfather’s house in Newcastle, England, for four and a half years.
Case of bus driver committing ‘Britain’s most stunning art theft’ – BBC News
Masterpiece Auction House Singapore Affandi and Basoeki Abdullah Painting Auction
The nearly 400 year old Dutch masterpiece ‘Two Laughing Boys’ has been stolen for the third time, how come? – BBC News Indonesia
As the world bustles with the coronavirus, three expensive paintings worth US$12 million stolen from Oxford University – BBC News
“This is great news, but for me what was important was to include my family’s point of view in the story and the factors that influenced my grandparents’ decision-making.
“It’s really about family drama and the struggles of the working class,” he said.
The incident became the inspiration for director Roger Michell to make a film The Duke starring Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren.
The hero of this story is Christopher’s grandfather, Kempton Bunton.
The father of five was expelled from school at the age of 13. Since then he has worked odd jobs. He used to work as a taxi driver.
“Despite all his shortcomings, he is a good man and wants to do his best for his family, but he also wants to help people who need help,” said Bunton.
One of Christopher’s grandfather’s angers went to the BBC. More than once he has refused to pay any licenses or taxes in his country to watch television channels from the British network.
“I believe that television is a cure for loneliness for retirees and war veterans, and at that time there were not many options for isolated and alone people.
“My grandfather recognized the value of the BBC, so he felt the BBC should be available free of charge to everyone who needed it, and the theft was part of his campaign to provide free TV licenses to retirees,” Christopher said.
Why steal a painting?
At that time, painting Portrait of the Duke of Wellington It made big news when Charles Bierer Wrightsman, an American oil magnate and art collector, bought it at auction for US$390,000. He also plans to bring the painting from England to the US.
The British government decided to buy the work at the same price in order to prevent the painting from leaving the UK. As a result, the work arrived at London’s National Gallery just over a week later.
The painting became so valuable that after stealing it, Kempton Bunton demanded that £140,000 be donated to pay for TV licenses for the poor and that they be granted amnesty to those imprisoned for not paying the license.
The request was ignored.
The painting was returned in 1965 by the robber himself.
However, some of the facts that were revealed at that time did not make sense.
For example, the bathroom window that is said to have been used when carrying away paintings from the gallery is very small, even though Kempton Bunton’s body is large. At the time, the judge commented on Bunton’s “remarkable athletic achievement”.
But what at first looks like a comic strip joke is more than an unlikely art theft.
The trial of Kempton Bunton marked a milestone.
Basically, his defense argument was that Kempton had borrowed the painting for several years.
Years later, this incident was categorized as a new crime and was added to the British Criminal Code in 1968, that “any person who without legal permission steals any item displayed to the public will be charged with a crime.”
Eventually, Kempton Bunton was convicted of stealing the frame, which was not returned to London’s National Gallery.
He spent three months in prison and died a decade later, in 1976.
Kempton Bunton’s confession and trial made him, briefly, famous. Meanwhile, for his family in Newcastle, struggling to survive as it becomes more complicated.
“Is he a hero in your family?” I asked Christopher.
“For me? Yes,” he answered. “But my father wasn’t so sure.”
“It’s not something my family is proud of, and I think now it’s a positive thing, it’s something we can be proud of in the future.”
“He could have been a better man in the family,” he continued. “He is a bit selfish, but at the same time he is doing extraordinary feats for the benefit of his family.
“His character is contradictory. He’s nice but he’s not a superhero,” Christopher said.