Twitter share

Friday, July 24, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Firle Place, The Daddy of Porcelain Thefts !!!!




'Cool' burglar stole £1million collection after exposing single flaw in CCTV system

Lord Gage today described the daring thief who stole his £1million porcelain collection as 'a very cool burglar'.
-
The Viscount said the intruder had exposed a single blind spot in his extensive CCTV system at the 15th century country estate, Firle Place.
-
The thief stole dozens of items from cabinets brimming with rare porcelain treasures and made his escape without alerting a single member of the household, and even cleared up after himself.
-
The stately home near Lewes, East Sussex, is where BBC series Jonathan Creek is filmed.
-
Lord Henry Nicholas Gage said the items included Sevres masterpieces and precious family heirlooms and had been stolen from right under their noses.
-
'He was certainly a very cool burglar indeed,' he said.
-
'We caught him coming in on our CCTV cameras and it is obvious that he was a total professional.
-
'The man had a ladder and glass cutters which he used to get through a window and into the Long Gallery.
-
'Somehow he managed to find the only blind spot in the room which was excluded from our CCTV footage.
-
'The fact that there were blind spots in our system is something that I was completely unaware of, but obviously he wasn't.
-
'Clearly no system is perfect.'
-
The Viscount, 75, said his family are offering a substantial reward for the safe return of the collection.
-
'The last time we had a major burglary was in 1953.
-
Of course there have been a few minor incidents over the years, but absolutely nothing of this scale or magnitude.
-
'The man completely cleaned out the two cabinets and then cleaned up after himself.
-
'Just how he suceeeded in getting back down the ladder with two cabinets worth of valuable porcelain I'll never know,' he said.
-
'There were a number of people in the house at the time and nobody noticed a thing. It's a complete mystery.'
-
The burglary, which took place on Sunday evening, was over before midnight, but it was not until 9am the following morning when staff realised the elaborate theft had taken place.
-
And it was only when the burglar alarms were triggered by accident, that they were alerted.
-
The Gage family's ancestors have lived at Firle Place for more than 500 years.
-
The Viscount's family stretch back for centuries and include advisors to King Henry VIII and the man who commanded British forces during the American War of Independence.
-
All have resided at Firle Place, which is so grand that it is often used as a film set and is now open to the public.
-
The pieces of stolen porcelain had been among the most valuable items on show, including a pair of identical vases made in 1763 and an extremely rare figurine by Hollandaise Nouveau.
-
Other prized assets on view at the country estate are paintings by the Renaissance artist Raphael and Anthony Van Dyck, who was court painter to King Charles I.
-
Lord Gage said he was appalled visitors had lost the chance to see some of their most beautiful artefacts.
-
'They were collected by the 3rd Earl Cooper during the 19th century and then came into the family via my mother.
-
'It's a very sad loss, especially for the viewing public, as these items were of such great rarity.'
-
A spokesman for Sussex Police said that detectives were pursuing numerous lines of inquiry to recover the priceless antiques.

No comments: