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Friday, 9 December 2016

Belgian Heraldic sculptor discovers missing British work of heraldic art | Monument Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, London

Sir Nicholas Throckmorton | Momument Throckmorton London

Belgian Heraldic sculptor discovers missing British work at a Belgian art-dealer

BELGA Newsagency Brussels

Patrick Damiaens, a woodcarver and heraldic sculptor from the city of Maaseik (Belgium) has discovered a missing 16th century coat of arms of an important British ambassador at an antiques fair in Namur. The church of St Katharine Cree in London, where the work of art went missing during World War II, has appointed a lawyer to retrieve the piece.

“At the antiques fair in Namur this ornamental piece immediately caught my eye”, says Patrick Damiaens. “The relief in question represents a 16th century coat of arms of about 80 cm in size, which was made of alabaster and is of exceptional quality. 
The antique dealer tried to pass it off as a German-Austrian relief from the middle of the 16th century, which I found quite strange, seeing as it rather seemed to be of British origin.” Extensive research into the origin of the piece led Damiaens to the Throckmortons, a noble family from England. “The ornamental piece went missing years ago from the monument of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, a confidant of Elisabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots”, according to Damiaens. “He himself was a Britsh ambassador in France and the Throckmorton family in general was quite influential in 16th century England.” Damiaens is one hundred percent certain that the piece he saw at the antiques fair in Namur belongs to this noble British family. 

Monument Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, London

Marc Van der Cruys, editor of a heraldic magazine, is also convinced of its authenticity. “I believe there is little doubt that this sculpture, with its coat of arms, was once the ornament adorning the family monument at the parochial church of St Katharine Cree", says Van der Cruys. "It is indeed plausible that the relief was among the debris carried out of the church after a bombardment during WWII. Possibly, one of the workers set it aside ‘for a rainy day’ after the war. In this period, when the bombs were literally flying around people’s ears, nobody paid any attention to this."Meanwhile, the person in charge of the church of St Katharine Cree in Londen has undertaken the necessary steps. 

By calling in a lawyer Christopher A Marinello who specializes in stolen, looted or missing works of art, the church wants to see the missing piece returned to its rightful place. For the moment, the coat of arms is still in the possession of the art-dealer who was trying to sell it at the fair in Namur. "Legally speaking, the piece belongs to me, so I’m not obliged to return it”, claims the antique dealer, who wishes to remain anonymous. "But, for ethical reasons, I will return it. 
It just wouldn’t feel right to keep it or sell it. I have recently (Wednesday afternoon, 7-12-2016) spoken to the lawyer from England and we are working on a solution."  

Monument Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, London

Looking for counsel with some respectable art dealers of the TEFAF ‘The Art Fair in Maastricht’, giving me one advice, that I had to put the news and my findings as quickly as possible public, ‘so no other person, interest or firm would use your work as theirs’. The artworld is a crabbasket " they told me."

Belgian Heraldic sculptor discovers missing British work of heraldic art




  1. Congratulations on discovering this "crab" Patrick, and starting it on the way back to its original home. Congratulations also to the art dealer who sounds willing follow the ethical path in returning the piece. I hope that he is fairly compensated for that behavior.

    Now... have you also discovered the identity of the original artisan?

  2. In the 16th century a lot of craftsman left the southern Netherlands (Flanders) because of their relgion