Thursday, 7 July 2011

Stolen Porcelain returns to Castle

Recovery of two pieces of Chamberlain’s Worcester Porcelain stolen from Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire over a decade ago


Chamberlain’s Cobalt Glazed Vase Worcester Factory

The rare pieces were stolen in the early hours of Wednesday 5th May 1999 from the Berkeley family’s treasured collection of porcelain. While the theft was investigated by Gloucestershire Police the Castle’s Custodian immediately registered the stolen objects with the Art Loss Register.  Over the course of the next eleven years the Art Loss Register continued to search the international art market for the much missed pieces.

In September 2010 whilst carrying out a routine catalogue search the stolen Ice Pail and Twin Handled Vase were identified. Working quickly and with the full cooperation of the auction house, the pieces were withdrawn from the impending sale and safely stored.  The consignors were contacted, a local couple who were hoping to auction the contents of their home. 

Upon hearing that the works were stolen from Berkeley Castle (an image of which actually adorns the Twin Handled Vase) the shocked couple agreed to immediately release the works for return to their rightful owner.  

After liaising with law enforcement, the regional auction house and insurer, the porcelain was recently returned to Berkeley Castle.  The two items will be placed back on display in the Castle later this week, after having been absent for nearly twelve years.

The Berkeley Family, who have occupied the estate since the 12th Century, are said to be overjoyed at the recovery and return of the valuable works to the Castle’s collection.

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