The latest in a fairly lengthy line of Anglo-French spats reached the front pages today as the row over ownership of a painting by one Nicolas Tournier came to a head. French authorities have taken the painting of Christ carrying the cross hostage, saying it was nicked from Toulouse a couple of centuries ago. “This work is an inalienable part of French culture,” said a French culture ministry spokesman. “We claim it is the property of the state. It is not going anywhere.”
Meanwhile Mark Weiss, the London dealer trying to sell it back to Toulouse, said the announcement had come “out of the blue” and “made no sense”. There is no indication that French authorities believe Mr Weiss himself nicked the painting 200 years ago.