Waiter Accidentally Breaks Thumb Off Priceless Roman Statue at British Museum

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Picture it. You’re part of a catering team, called in to serve at a corporate event at a prestigious museum.

The Townley Venus statue is seen in this file photo. (Credit: Trustees of the British Museum)

The Townley Venus statue is seen in this file photo. (Credit: Trustees of the British Museum)

In an unfortunate twist of events, you have an accidental run-in with a priceless Roman statue, knocking the right thumb clean off. Cue the looks of horror.

It’s the last thing you’d wish for, but that’s exactly what happened to a hapless waiter in an incident that happened last December at the British Museum, but only came to light recently.

The Townley Venus is a work of beauty. The marble statue representing the Greek goddess of love stands almost 7 feet tall and is “adapted from a lost Greek original of the 4th century BC,” according to the British Museum website.

Last December a caterer was working a little too close to the Venus statue. The caterer bumped into the figure and the thumb on the right hand broke off and fell to the floor, according to The Art Newspaper.

“This was an unfortunate incident,” the British Museum said in a statement. ‘The preservation of the collection is of fundamental importance to the British Museum. Our expert conservators have been able to fully restore the object and it has remained on public display. We have taken the incident seriously and have retrained all individuals responsible for events.”

It’s not the first time a work of art has been victim to mishap. An accidental trip caused damage to a $1.5 million painting in Taipei last year.