Ocean’s Eleven, one of the most exciting heist films of the last decade, seems to have inspired a daring raid on the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, in which thieves stole “valuable and culturally significant” Chinese works of art.
The 18 items, from the museum’s permanent collection, are believed to be worth millions of pounds. The stolen items include a jade sixteenth-century buffalo, a carved horse from the seventeenth century and a green and brown jade carved elephant. In London, police arrested two men suspected of being behind the thefts in Cambridge. Patrick Kiely, 28, and a fifteen year old boy appeared before Cambridge Magistrates’ Court charged with theft and conspiracy to commit burglary. The court heard that the 18 artefacts taken from the museum on 13 April had been valued at between £10m and £40m.
Experts have suggested that the objects may have been stolen to order for antiques traders in the Far East. David Battie, an antique’s expert, said:
“They are all exactly the sort of things that would be highly saleable out there now.” Mr Battie said that the items were more attractive to thieves because they were small and could easily be concealed. He observed, “These things have been given by people or bought by the museum for a collection which is open to the public – then these people come along and help themselves to it depriving the people of this country”.
Whether or not the items are ever recovered, students on Oxford Royale Academy's Cambridge summer courses will still have the opportunity to visit the Fitzwilliam’s world-leading collections during their stay in the city. Ironically, a highlight of the museum's summer programme is ‘The Search for Immortality’, the most remarkable exhibition of ancient royal treasures ever to travel outside China. For further details of the exhibition, please click here.
Inspired by the academic rigour of the university of Cambridge, we are pleased to offer our Cambridge Broadening Horizons course for students aged 16-18 as a new addition for 2012. Residential in Clare College in Cambridge, and with a choice of three demanding and interesting academic modules to choose from, the course offers attendees the chance to live the life of an undergraduate student in this fantastic city for two weeks.
The academic side of the course is supplemented by a full extra-curricular programme, including a visit to the Fitzwilliam museum described above. Other highlights include botanic garden visits, guest lectures and summer sports, such as the traditional English game of croquet. For more information on our Cambridge Broadening Horizons programme for 16-18s, please click here or contact our Registrations department on firstname.lastname@example.org.