Getty Museum’s designated director deals with U.K. museum thefts


Timothy Potts, who was named director of the Getty Museum in February and who will assume the post in September, no doubt had a busy weekend. As was reported in the British media, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England, where Potts currently serves as director, is reeling from a major theft of ancient Chinese artifacts.

The Telegraph reported that 18 items including a 14th century Ming jade cup were stolen around Friday evening. The missing pieces also include a jade-carved buffalo from the 16th century, a carved horse from the 17th century and a green and brown jade carved elephant.

“These works are a highly important part of our collection and their loss is a great blow,” said a museum spokesman to the newspaper. “We are working closely with the police to aid in their recovery.”


Some reports have put the value of the stolen items in the millions of pounds, but the museum has not released a monetary figure.

The BBC News and ITV News reported that a white van is believed to have been used in the theft. The news organizations have released images of a Volkswagen Caddy captured by surveillance cameras.

Potts will succeed Michael Brand, who departed the Getty in 2010. Potts, an Australia native, ran the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, from 1998 to 2007.

As reported by the Telegraph, the theft at the Fitzwilliam comes shortly after a similar theft of Chinese artifacts from Durham University’s Oriental Museum, though it remains unclear if the two incidents are related.


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