Prized Carvings Stolen from Scottish Church


Three panels have been stolen from a chapel on the remote island of Lambholm in Scotland’s Orkney archipelago, according to Scottish police. The panels are part of a 14-piece mahogany work carved by Italian artist Domenico Chiocchetti, depicting the stations of the cross, the Guardian subsequently reported.

Chiocchetti was one of a group of 500 prisoners of war during World War II who were sent to the previously uninhabited island to build defensive military installations after being captured in North Africa. They built the chapel in 1943–44 out of two iron, Nissen huts and other discarded materials. Chiocchetti brought the stations of the cross carvings with him on a trip to restore other features of the chapel in 1965.

Police initially estimated that the theft took place between July 29 and August 12. After reviewing photos submitted by visitors to the site this month, they have since been able to narrow down the time of the theft to between 9am on August 6th and 5:40pm on August 8th.

The site is estimated to attract 100,000 tourists each year. Police hope more visitors will step forward in the coming days and weeks in order to be able to further narrow down the time when the artworks were stolen. It is the second time in the past three months that the chapels have been vandalized.

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