The work shows a middle-class woman attended by a housemaid who is presumably acting as messenger and go-between for the lady and her lover.
Instead of storming the house as Rose Dugdale and her Irish Republican Army compatriots had done inthe thieves broke in quietly, at 2: The infrared alarm sounded, the thieves exited the house and hid behind some thick bushes. Retired Irish army Col. Michael O'Shea, administrator of the Beit collection, toured the building's ground floor but found nothing suspicious; he and the police, who had arrived shortly after, decided it was a false alarm.
An hour later the thieves entered the house again, and in just six minutes, took 18 paintings. The loss of this Vermeer and the others was discovered just before 9: Russborough House A detective at the scene was quoted as saying ''The IRA is short of cash and they may have stolen the pictures again for ransom.
Fortunately, Sir Alfred Beitnow 83, was in London at the time of the theft. The next day, seven of the 18 paintings the least commercially valuable were discovered in a ditch by boys going fishing near the mansion, four miles from the scene of the crime.
All were in good condition. Martin Cahill The remaining 11 pictures were hidden in a bunker that had been prepared in advance.
Cahill was the police's first suspect, but the gangster was so powerful in the Dublin underworld that fear of retaliation stopped all potential informants. There were rumors about the paintings being hidden in the Wicklow Mountains, but there were no solid leads.
Sir Alfred Beit declared that the stolen pictures were so well known "they are virtually unsaleable on the market. Beit inherited the core of his collection through his father, Sir Otto Beitbrother of a diamond millionaire and partner of Cecil Rhodes, the African empire builder.
Cahill lacked the right contacts to pass it on to international art-theft rings: Inone of the stolen paintings turned up in the heroin circuit of Istanbul, while two years later, another work was taken from a van transporting drugs in London.
The Vermeer was said to have been deposited in a Luxemburg bank vault. Hill was born in Britain and brought up mostly in America. The recovery was made from the trunk of a car rented by three Irishmen and a Yugoslav. The coup made Hill an overnight star—the world's greatest art detective.
Hill later declared that in his career of art-theft sleuth, "my greatest thrill" was finding Vermeer's Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid.
I was taken to a multi-storey car park in Antwerp by a gangster, and had to mask my emotions as I unwrapped the painting. It's the greatest masterpiece I've had the pleasure to hold.
After the police had recovered the painting, a restorer found a pinprick hole in the center of the eye of the seated woman, which he originally thought was damage from the theft. Instead, it was discovered that Vermeer had employed a well-know seventeenth-century technique whereby by a string was attached to a pin hole placed at the picture's vanishing point and pulled tight in order to verify the orthogonals of the scene's perspective.
The police later reported that Vermeer's painting had served to guarantee a million-pounds loan from diamond dealer so that Cahill could buy drugs. The Vermeer, worth tens of millions on the open market, was thus given the value of one million pounds on the black market. Cahill was subsequently murdered, most likely, by the IRA for helping supply weapons to pro-England Volunteers or for importing heroin, a drug that the IRA despised and were trying to prevent from being sold in Dublin.
Cahill was shot in the face and upper torso by an unknown gunman armed with a 44 Magnum revolver, who then fled on a motorbike. A movie "The General" was made about Cahill's notorious life of crime. Although he had masterminded many major crimes in Ireland, the Gardai had been unable to pin anything on him.
When he was brought to court on petty charges, he defiantly posed outside for press photographers, dropping his trousers to reveal a pair of Mickey Mouse boxer shorts. Noah Charney, "Art Theft in Connecticut: Gone Baby, Gone," Connnecticut.Lady Writing a Letter with Her Maid exemplifies Vermeer's essential theme of revealing the universal within the domain of the commonplace.
By avoiding anecdote, by not relating actions to specific situations, he attained a sense of timelessness in his work. File:Woman writing a letter, with her maid, by Johannes timberdesignmag.com File:Writing woman a letter, with her maid, by Johannes timberdesignmag.com (file redirect) Category:Lady writing a letter with her maid (Vermeer).
Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid is a painting by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer, completed in – and held in the National Gallery of Ireland.
The work shows a middle-class woman attended by a housemaid who is presumably acting as messenger and go-between for the lady and her lover. Vermeer Thefts: - Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid On May 1, , the Lady Writing with her Maid, the only Vermeer in private ownership,was again stolen from the Russborough House.
Vermeer Thefts: - Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid On May 1, , the Lady Writing with her Maid, the only Vermeer in private ownership,was again stolen from the Russborough House. This painting is one of the most ingenious compositions of Vermeer’s late career. While a maidservant stares out of a window, her mistress writes a letter.
In the foreground on the floor, lie a red seal, a stick of sealing wax and an object which is probably a letter-writing manual, often used for personal correspondence at the time.