Monday, May 25, 2009

Begbie statue stolen

Someone stole the statue in the UVIC Law building. One evening last week, someone nabbed the bronze of BC's first judge, Matthew Begbie. The statue stood prominently in the entry of the Law building for many years. Known as the "hanging judge"--some say unjustly--Begbie has been the subject of much controversy over the years. The statue, which shows Begbie riding on a horse, was sawed off at the hooves and removed.

Honoring Begbie at UVIC has been the subject of much debate over the years--and the statue has been the subject of mild pranks. Until recently the UVIC Law building was also named for Begbie--now it is named for Fraser, UVIC's first law dean.

Given the controversy the Begbie statue has caused it would be easy to assume the theft is a student protest or prank, but Universities have been targets of art theives before. Notably the recent theft of Bill Reid's gorgeous gold carving work from UBC (now found, with some damage), and theives stealing bronze monuments for the melted-down value. The recently solved theft of a famous (and heavy!) Henry Moore bronze shows the thieves stole a multi-million dollar work of art to melt it down to earn a few thousand from the scrap. Apparently law enforcement can attend conferences on metal theft, and some areas even have metal theft specialists on their police force.


Stacy Chappel said...

and another

JING said...

Nice put!
Begbie, the hanging judge, is more than controversial.


JING said...

Nice put!
Begbie, is beyond controversial!