Drawing of Queen Victoria amongst many objects lacking from England’s museums

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Drawing of Queen Victoria amongst many objects lacking from England’s museums

A drawing of Queen Victoria and an plane navigational system are among the many objects lacking from museums in England.

Freedom of data requests by the PA information company to museums and galleries that obtain public funding from the Division for Tradition, Media and Sport (DCMS) asking for particulars on absent objects from the final 20 years discovered that greater than 1,700 objects have been absent from collections.

The information comes after the British Museum disclosed final summer season that greater than 2,000 artefacts have been discovered to be stolen, lacking or broken from its collections. George Osborne, the museum’s chair, recommended there was a scarcity of full cataloguing on the museum.

Among the many museums revealed to have absent objects was the Nationwide Portrait Gallery in central London, which mentioned it had 45 “not positioned” objects – although insisted they weren’t lacking or stolen.

Between 2007 and 2022, a drawing of Queen Victoria from 1869, a mid-Nineteenth-century engraving of King John granting Magna Carta, a bronze sculpture of painter Thomas Stothard and a 1947 adverse picture of the marriage of the late Queen to the Duke of Edinburgh, have been recorded as “not discovered”.

The gallery mentioned it nonetheless wants to finish searches for objects after a three-year refurbishment and objects recorded as unlocated represented 0.02% of its assortment, which homes 12,700 portraits and 164,000 pictures.

On the Victoria and Albert Museum in west London, oil and watercolour work, a shadow puppet, false moustaches, numerous drawings, underpants, stockings and a mousetrap have been amongst greater than 180 lacking artefacts.

The museum mentioned it didn’t know if the objects had been misplaced or stolen. A V&A spokesperson added the museum takes “the safety of nationwide collections very severely and repeatedly critiques safety and assortment administration procedures”.

Royal Museums Greenwich disclosed that about 245 objects couldn’t be discovered throughout its venues in south-east London. They included a navigational plane laptop, a gun-sighting telescope, a cannonball, charts, liquid compasses, an act of parliament, an Altazimuth circle, which can be utilized for holding telescopes, and ribbons and bands for caps.

The museum mentioned these could possibly be “ghost entries, the results of knowledge switch from extra primitive databases, incorrect documentation or human error previously” and it has re-discovered 560 objects since 2008 by means of audits.

The Pure Historical past Museum mentioned a jaw fragment of a late Triassic reptile, the Diphydontosaurus, was discovered to have been misplaced throughout a mortgage in 2019. In 2020, greater than 180 fish have been additionally recorded as misplaced, whereas a crocodile tooth was found to have been stolen.

A spokesperson for the west London museum mentioned: “We take the safety of our assortment very severely, so over the past 20 years we’ve had simply 23 cases of misplaced or lacking objects from a set of 80 million, restricted to small issues like tooth, fish and frozen animal tissue.”

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The Science Museum Group reported two mannequin steam trains, a King George V and a British Railways Normal 4MT class, as stolen to police in 2014. The museum has additionally recorded a Sixties mannequin of a deep-sea commentary chamber, a diver’s watertight torch, a resuscitating equipment and a Nineteenth-century portrait of Joseph Marie Jacquard as lacking.

A spokesperson for the Science Museum Group, which homes 425,000 objects throughout its venues and centres, mentioned it has begun placing barcodes on artefacts to trace their areas and preserve them protected.

The Tate artwork museums and galleries and the Nationwide Gallery each reported no lacking objects.

Horniman Museum and Gardens in south London recorded seven objects together with a 1933 protecting allure as lacking. The Wallace Assortment, Museum of the Residence, Sir John Soane’s Museum and Nationwide Museums Liverpool disclosed only some lacking objects.

The Imperial Warfare Museum reported greater than 550 lacking objects, together with ship camouflage drawings, a British military officer’s personal papers, a calendar with {a photograph} of former Iraq chief Saddam Hussein and foreign money notes.

A museum spokesperson mentioned the artefacts “date from a few years and even a long time in the past, lengthy earlier than our present collections administration programs have been put in place” and “are additionally usually low-value, mass-produced objects”.


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