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/ 23 December 2016

Historic City church reunited with long-lost carving

Sir Nicholas Throckmorton St Katharine Cree

St Katharine Cree, a historic church in the heart of the City of London, has been reunited with a long-lost heraldic carving, which vanished from the church decades ago.

A survivor of the Great Fire and London Blitz, St Katharine Cree houses a monument to Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, a prominent Elizabethan courtier and diplomat who served as Ambassador to France. The heraldic carving, which used to sit above the monument disappeared in the 1960s, but recently re-emerged in Brussels when it was offered for sale at an antiques fair by Klaas Muller, a dealer who had acquired it in good faith in 2015. Patrick Damiaens, a heraldic woodcarver also based in Belgium, was interested in buying the item but, keen to establish its provenance, made a series of enquiries that led him finally to contact St Katharine Cree.

Upon being approached by Christopher Marinello of Art Recovery International, who was acting pro-bono on behalf of St Katharine Cree, Mr Muller generously agreed to return the carving, which is now on its way back to London.

Phil Manning, a churchwarden at St Katharine Cree who has helped oversee the recovery, said:

“This is certainly one of the most exciting and unexpected events in St Katharine Cree’s recent history. This coat of arms of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton is tied deeply to our church and its long history and, at a time when we are planning significant restoration work, it is all the more fitting that the carving should be coming home.”

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