“This was an unfortunate incident. The preservation of the collection is of fundamental importance”- British Museum
A clumsy agency waiter from an external hire company working at a party at the British Museum has broken a priceless Roman sculpture, it has been reported. The incident happened last December and has only just been made public.
The accident occurred when the unidentified service worker bent down beneath the Townley Venus and smashed into its right hand while getting up. The thumb sheered off of the statue and tumbled to the stone floor but remained intact. The work of art has now been restored.
The marble sculpture depicts a semi-nude figure of the goddess of love. It is a copy of a Greek original and dates from the 1st or 2nd Centuries. It was excavated in 1775 from the baths at the port of Ostia in Rome and bought by English collector Charles Townley. It was sold to the British Museum in 1805. The Greek original dates back to the 4th Century BC.
A spokesperson for The British Museum said in a statement, it had taken the incident “seriously”. “This was an unfortunate incident. The preservation of the collection is of fundamental importance,” “Our expert conservators have been able to fully restore the object and it has remained on public display. We have retrained all individuals responsible for events.”
The Townley Venus was missing its index finger before it was added to the collection of the British Museum in 1805.