£2000 reward unclaimed for return of unique self-portrait painted by the eccentric musician and artist before he formed Pink Floyd

Syd Barrett

Barrett: Crazy diamond's rare gem

A self-portrait painted by Pink Floyd founding member Syd Barrett was been stolen from the first-ever exhibition of his artwork – then returned to the gallery anonymously.

Former girlfriend Libby Gausden lent the work to London’s Idea Generation Gallery when they put together Syd Barrett: Art and Letters, which opened on March 18 and closed on Sunday. But the 12×9 inch painting was missing after the closure.

She told the Press Association: “I’m very upset. The painting has huge personal value for me. I’m appealing for its safe return.”

She offered a £2000 reward for information leading to its recovery – but event organisers now say: “The painting was mysteriously posted back to the gallery, undamaged and intact.”

A spokesman explains: “This exhibition will go down as one of the best. It’s caused a buzz of excitement and the donation buckets for Syd’s charity made £402 on the opening night. Each day there was a blast from the past as we encountered star-struck stories from the good old days, those who own Syd memorabilia, life-long fans and people who wanted to learn more about the legend that is Syd. He kept us on our toes.”

Barrett’s sister Rosemary Breen recently told how he regarded himself as an artist first and a musician second. “His art was the real him,” she said. “He got sidetracked into playing music, then he came back to art.”

He left Floyd in 1968 and didn’t start painting again until the 1980s. He destroyed most of his works, making those which survived even more rare. He died of cancer in 2006 after spending three decades as a recluse – a lifestyle Breen says he enjoyed.

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