The Last Supper - St. Mary's Church, Purton, Wiltshire.


Painted by the Flemmish artist Jacob Jordeans in 1655, the Last Supper was a gift to St. Mary's from the Countess of Shaftesbury in 1782, and has hung behind the alter for 200 years.

Elizabeth Holford originally restored The Last Supper in 1981, but it was unfortunately stolen in 1994, along with two other works.

In 1999, the Vicar of St. Mary's, Brian Fessey was contacted by the FBI, reporting that the painting had been recovered in a recent 'sting' operation in Florida.The FBI had had a tip-off from a contact, reporting that a man had been attempting to sell two stolen English paintings in Florida, claiming that they had been taken from the Queen's personal collection following the fire in Windsor Castle.

The Story...
The Last Supper by Jacob Jordaens
Photograph ©Elizabeth Holford


The FBI contacted the Arts and Antiques Squad at Scotland Yard, who discounted the royal link, but were able to pass on details of the Last Supper, including information about the restoration that Elizabeth undertook in 1981. A faxed photograph confirmed that it was the same painting that was up for sale in Florida.

Following the recovery of the painting, it was returned to Purton, but was substantially damaged by poor handling - being folded, and rolled with the paint on the inside (so it could be sent back to England in poster tube), causing severe creasing and paint detachment. Elizabeth is undertaking a second restoration campaign, and the painting shall soon be returned to St. Mary's Church.

Photograph ©Elizabeth Holford


Contact Us