Update from 28/10/2014

Excellent news : the Belgian police has found the Hougoumont Christ in a garage... in Braine l'Alleud, only a few km from where it was stolen ! The "owner" declared he didn't know it was stolen and said he had bought the 16th century sculpture in a flea market !

Both legs are still partly missing.

The news was announced on Friday 25/10/2014.



21 February 2011
Le Soir dated 19/02/11 :

We quote :

" It's a bit like if they had left the Mona Lisa in a garden shed."

It looks clearer and clearer now that the theft took place before 25 Novembre.  In that case, that theft and the one of the commemorative stone on the wall of the Quatre-Bras farm took place within a few (2) days.  There could be more than one element in common between both thefts!  Let us remind you that a witness saw "several people on board of a (pseudo?) military vehicle equipped with a crane" and bearing a Dutch licence plate.  The Christ, weighing several hundred kilos, can only have been taken by serveral people using a crane and a heavy vehicle...

Update from 09 februari 2011

New -unofficial but serious - testimonies seem to indicate that the theft took place on the night of the 24th to the 25th of NOVEMBER (!), i.e. more than TWO MONTHS before the official  "discovery".  The police seems to have been informed in the morning of the 25th, but didn't bother to come.

(Le Soir, 9th february 2011, p. 19 and the  RTBF's website )

In the Independent:

In the Daily Mail:

Yesterday, February 1st, 2011, we heard that the famous Christ of the chapel of Hougoumont, a masterpiece of the end of the 16th century, had been stolen.  The thieves didn't hesitate to tear out the door by cutting the stone and bricks 40 cm in depth.  The oak Christ, measuring more than 2 meters and weighing several hundred kilos, must have been taken away with an elevator.

Nobody knows exactly when the theft happened, because the place is currently inaccessible and the thieves put the bricks back so the theft would be discovered as late as possible.  It might have been (more than) a month ago.  It's only thanks to a friend who knows the place very well that the thieves didn't get a greater lead.

Several formal complaints have been lodged on the 1st of February, among other thing for theft, destructions and forcible entry.  An international warrant for art theft has been launched.  A police investigation is under way.  The masterpiece is not only very famous, but also very easily identifiable, because its feet have been scorched on the 18th June 1815 by the fire that destroyed the château.

We can only hope and count on the efficiency of the police services and of Interpol.  Please communicate this info to other people who might be interested, as I don't have that many British and Dutch contacts.  I think specially of Regimental and or other museums.

Yours sincerely.

Dominique Timmermans


Sources :

Direct witnesses, Le Soir and L'Avenir of 02/02/2011.


P.S. : In 1974, a small statue of saint Anna was stolen in this same chapel.



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