Stolen £1m Stanley Spencer painting is returned to its rightful owners after it was found stashed under a drug dealer’s bed

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A stolen painting by Sir Stanley Spencer, one of Britain’s most important – and eccentric – 20th Century artists, has been returned to its owners after it was found under a drug dealer’s bed.

Cookham From Englefield was valued at £1 million and on loan to the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham, Berkshire, in 2012 when thieves broke in and removed the 1948 oil on canvas work.

In 2017, police raided a West London drug dealer’s home and found the painting stashed in a bedroom along with £450,000 worth of cocaine and ecstasy.

Graphic designer Susan Elsden had lent the piece – commissioned by her grandfather, a friend of Spencer, below – to the gallery in the 1990s.

The family were later compensated under the Government Indemnity Scheme, which offers galleries an alternative to costly insurance, and the case is the first where owners have repaid their settlement to recover an artwork.

It was returned to the family last month.

Spencer, who died in 1959 aged 68, wore pyjamas under his suit and pushed around a pram in which he carried his canvas and easel.

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