Insurers offered a "very substantial" reward Saturday for a $7.7 million Titian painting stolen from an aristocrat's home.

The "Rest on the Flight into Egypt" was stolen from the main drawing room at the Marquess of Bath's Longleat House in an overnight raid."The Titian was a beautiful painting, one of the jewels of the collection," Lord Bath told reporters. "It is most sad that it has been taken from under one's nose."

Insurers offered the reward - expected to be around a 10th of the value - for the return of the painting, acquired in 1878.

Bath said the theft may have been the work of a gang intent on a private sale or ransom. It would be difficult to sell such a well-known painting on the open market.

The 24-by 18-inch painting of the Virgin Mary cradling infant Jesus in her arms with Joseph looking on has been a major attraction since visitors were admitted to the Bath estate in 1949.

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The thieves, who apparently drove across hundreds of acres of estate parkland and broke into the 130-room mansion through a first-floor window, also made off with two other paintings worth about $15,000 each.

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