£130,000 art feared lost after mob attack on the UK embassy in Tripoli

Art works believed to have been looted or destroyed

Published on 15 June 2011

Author(s): The Scotsman

Type:  News

Works of art feared lost after a mob ransacked the British diplomatic mission in the Libyan capital Tripoli had an estimated value of more than £130,000. Among the works believed to have been looted or destroyed in the attack was an 18th century oil painting by Philip Reinagle estimated to be worth £60,000.

A £35,000 landscape in the style of Italian painter Salvator Rosa and a £20,000 portrait by Edmund Havell were also in the residence when it was raided.

Details of the contents of the British residence in Tripoli were revealed under Freedom of Information laws.

The overall cost of the attack on 1 May, which prompted Foreign Secretary William Hague to expel Libya's ambassador to the UK, will not be calculated until officials are able to return to Tripoli.

Diplomatic missions belonging to a number of Nato states were targeted after an airstrike reportedly killed Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi's youngest son and three of his grandchildren. The British embassy was set alight and a Second World War memorial was desecrated in the incident.

Asked whether an assessment had been made of the risk to national security from any intelligence material held in the residence getting into the hands of Gaddafi loyalists, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it "can neither confirm nor deny" whether it held information to answer the question.

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