We are delighted to announce the return of this beautiful bronze gilt, Anglo-Saxon Square Headed brooch. Originally found at Market Overton, it is part of Oakham School collection of archaeology.
The brooch was stolen from the museum in 1995, along with 8 other brooches and a Roman gold ring. The ring was recovered shortly after the theft, but nothing has been seen of the brooches since they were taken.
Fast forward 25 years, and this brooch was recovered by the Metropolitan Police Service’s Art and Antiques Unit. After the theft the items were recorded on the Art Loss Register theft database. It is with the help of the Art Loss Register that this item can be reunited with Rutland County Museum.
Zurich Insurance has very kindly allowed it to be returned to the public domain and back to the museum.
The brooch was returned to the museum on 2nd August 2021 and was received by those in attendance including the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Culture.
Councillor Lucy Stephenson, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure at Rutland County Council, said: “The theft of these important artefacts was a huge loss to the County, and we are so pleased to have one of the items returned. These beautiful pieces of ancient craftsmanship provide an important link to our past. They belong on public display so that people have the opportunity to learn about our rich and unique local history. Special thanks must go to the Metropolitan Police, The Art Loss Register and Zurich, without whom it would not have been possible to secure the return of the brooch.”
Detective Constable Sophie Hayes from the Metropolitan Police said: “The Art and Antiques Unit is pleased to have played a part in keeping the item safe and facilitating its return. We are glad it has now been returned to the museum where it can be enjoyed and studied for years to come.”
James Ratcliffe, Director of Recoveries & General Counsel at the Art Loss Register commented on the return that: “We are delighted that our records were able to provide the link that meant the brooch could be returned to the Museum. The detailed long term records held on our database are an invaluable resource used by law enforcement agencies worldwide in support of their work, and it is great to see the positive impact of that collaboration rather closer to home.”
A spokesperson for Zurich Insurance UK said: “It’s not often we are able to return a stolen item to a customer, particularly some 15+ years after the event, so to be able to return this piece of Anglo Saxon jewellery to the customer was very satisfying and great outcome for all in involved. Over recent years we have endeavoured to strengthen our subrogation/recovery capabilities and as part of that effort we have established a strong partnership with the Art Loss Register which has ultimately led to a number of recoveries for Zurich and our customers.”
We are appealing for people to be on the lookout for artefacts that may have been stolen from public collections – including the eight brooches still missing. Important artefacts without provenance may have been innocently bought by collectors at antique fairs, unaware that they belong to the whole community. Anyone with information about suspected stolen artefacts or artworks is urged to come forward to help return items to their rightful owners, so they can once again be appreciated by everyone.