"The best book for an overview of stolen art" - Theodora Clarke
“The History of Loot and Stolen Art”
Focuses on the leading looters throughout history such as
Alexander the Great, Doge Enrico Dandolo, Napoleon, Hitler
and Stalin in 400 pages detailing how and what they looted.
Ivan Lindsay
Ivan Lindsay

About “The History of Loot an Stolen Art”
The art history book that’s being discussed across the globe.

The History of Loot and Stolen Art is a well-illustrated and documented alternative art history book and the first of its kind of the Western world through graphic accounts of looting and art theft from the time of Sargon, ruler of Syria in 720 BC, to the present day.

“Lindsay's book is supported by extensive research material from archives and contemporary sources, providing both factual information and exciting anecdotes about each period. This variety of information is blended together to produce an accessible and well-written book, which should be of interest to both the academic and general reader. The text is richly illustrated with color reproductions and black and white archival photographs, turning the reading process into a brilliant visual journey through the history of art and power.”


CHAPTER 1. Ancients, Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Moors and Charlemagne. A look at how looting first became institutionalised under the Romans who developed a template of post-conflict behaviour that was to last 2000 years.
Ancients, Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Moors and Charlemagne.
CHAPTER 2. The Crusades and the Sack of Constantinople. How the Crusaders looted and the disastrous change of direction during the 4th Crusade which resulted in the destruction and looting of Constantinople, one of the major looting examples throughout history.
The Crusades and the Sack of Constantinople.
“A network of intrigues and dirty deals in which the most redoubtable leaders of National Socialism squabbled and defied each other in a sordid, stubborn struggle for the possession of famous paintings or valuable pieces of sculpture.”
Jean Cassou, a curator of the Louvre and member of the French Resistance,describing Nazi wartime art collecting.
CHAPTER 3. The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries, the Renaissance and the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Looting in the Renaissance by the likes of the ruthless Cesare Borgia followed by the Dissolution of the Monasteries when Henry VIII emptied the treasuries of the English Church.
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CHAPTER 5. Sir Francis Drake. The life of England's most famous looter who harried the Spanish and removed their gold before becoming the English Admiral who defeated the Spanish Armada.
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CHAPTER 4. Spanish Colonisation of the Americas, Francisco Pizarro and Hernan Cortes. How the Conquistadors conquered the Americas and removed all their gold which established the finances of the Spanish Crown for the next 200 years.
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CHAPTER 6. The Emergence of Sweden. The Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus conquered most of Northern Europe in the 30 Years War which allowed his eccentric daughter, Christina, to loot the treasures of Prague before she converted to Catholicism and emigrated to Rome.
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“They picked it up and fingered it like monkeys. It was as if their hearts were satisfied, brightened, calmed. For in truth they thirsted mightily for gold; they stuffed themselves with it; they starved for it; they lusted after it like pigs.”
Aztecs commenting on the Spanish conquistadors when presented with gold
CHAPTER 7. Cromwell's dispersion of the Collections of Charles 1. After executing Charles I Cromwell removed the King's art collection and sold it off in a bargain sale which was later deemed to have been illegal by Charles II who recovered all that hadn't been shipped abroad.
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CHAPTER 9. Greece and Lord Elgin. This subject has recently resurfaced with a furore over the British Museum lending one of these marbles to the Hermitage Museum. Elgin removed the marbles for the Parthenon in Athens. The Greek Government badly wants them back but they are clearly going nowhere.
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CHAPTER 11. The British Museum and the Punitive Expeditions against Ashanti and Benin. British raids at this time removed the Ashanti Gold and the Benin Bronzes. These two sets of important African artifacts are housed in the British Museum and are also claimed by the current Ghanaian and Nigerian governments.
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CHAPTER 13. The Soviets and Stalin. When the Red Army started finding the deposits of art that the Nazis had looted and hidden (including the holdings of their own museums) they removed the lot, some 3,000,000 art objects, of which about half remains to this day in Russian where they are openly exhibited.
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CHAPTER 15. 1945 - 2009. What has happened from WWII up until the present day, how masterpieces regularly disappear and never resurface, and how Interpol has over 40,000 stolen artworks on its database.
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CHAPTER 8. Napoleon. The Corsican Lieutenant, who went on to become Emperor of France, looted on an epic scale to build up the Louvre. Many of the his thefts still remain in provincial French Museums.
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CHAPTER 10. Egypt. Many of Egypt's most important artifacts are spread around the great museums of the world. How they got there by both legal and illegal means is examined here.
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CHAPTER 12. World War II, Hitler, Goering and other Nazi Leaders. All the background and build up are discussed here on how the Nazi looting machine was structured and operated. By the end of WWII the US sponsored Safehaven programme estimated the Nazis had stolen 20% of the art in Europe.
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CHAPTER 14. 1945. The US army. The allies generally behaved admirably regarding returning stolen art after the end of WWII but there were instances of looting such as the US removing European horses for their own equine bloodlines and taking huge quantities of books for their libraries.
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CHAPTER 16. Conclusion. A summary of the book and the motives of the major looters throughout history.
“It is very necessary to remove to the USSR the paintings, sculpture, and the collections of coins stored there (the cellars of the Berlin Museums) among some thousands of the artworks. Such enrichment will make it possible for our museums to be on the same level as the best museums in the world.”
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Voloshin, acting head of the Soviet Berlin Trophy Brigade, 1945.