A 300-year-old tapestry is being returned to the French château where it was stolen by the Nazis seven decades ago.
The University of Sheffield is donating the Louis XIV tapestry, looted from the Chateau de Versainville in the northwestern province of Basse-Normandie in 1943 or 1944.
It was owned by war hero, the Comte Bernard de la Rochefoucauld, a member of the Marquis, the French resistance, who died in a German concentration camp, according to The Telegraph.
The Germans looted thousands of works of art from across Europe before and during World War II worth hundreds of millions of dollars, if not more. Tapestries, paintings, drawings, books and manuscripts, and sculptures were just some of the objets d’art plundered.
The university bought the 12-foot-high tapestry from an art dealer in 1959 for around £1,300, not realizing its provenance. It decided to sell the work in 2013, when it was learned the tapestry had been Nazi booty.
Today it is valued at tens of thousands of dollars.
The tapestry was made around 1720 by the Beauvais Tapestry Manufacture, a privately owned workshop contracted by Jean-Baptiste Colbert, finance minister of Louis XIV, for royal production in the second half of the 17th century. It depicts a scene from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, one of a number of Beauvais tapestries to cover Ovid’s classic mythological tales, according to The Telegraph.
Two other tapestries taken from the château at the same time are still missing, the publication added.
The Comte Bernard de la Rochefoucauld inherited the villa from his maternal grandmother in 1936 and, as a member of the Resistance, became part of the Prosper Network, a network created and supported by the British Special Operations Executive.