A painting by Falmouth artist John Dyer that was bought with public money has been stolen from the Princess Pavilion.

The distinctive painting, called Picnic Celebration, had been hanging near to the ticket office.

The acrylic on canvas painting, measuring 18x24 inches, was bought for public display by the Friends of Gyllyngdune Gardens using some of the money they had raised, to mark Mr Dyer’s residency at the gardens during 2012.

It is thought the painting was actually taken last year, but the theft has only become public knowledge today.

Mr Dyer told the Packet this afternoon: “It’s almost certainly in the local area – someone has obviously just lifted it. It’s a real shame.

“The more people that know that image the better. It’s taken away that joy and that public money.”

He said he could not understand the thinking behind taking it, adding: “It’s not like an iPhone where you can go down the pub and sell it for £50. It’s a very selfish act.

“It’s very hard to say why someone should do that and they should just give it back!”

He urged anyone who may see it in for sale, or in someone’s house, to get in touch with the police, the John Dyer Gallery on 01326 735016 or the Princess Pavilion and Gyllyngdune Gardens.

“At some point that painting will resurface,” said the artist.

The painting is easily identifiable as being in Mr Dyer’s colourful style and shows the bandstand in Gyllygdune Gardens with part of the verandah.

It is the first time a piece of his work has been stolen, to his knowledge.

The Packet has contacted the Princess Pavilion for comment.