Nazi loot

V&A will not get casket back

Medieval casket returned to UK owner; Czartoryski family to pursue case with support of Polish Ministry of Culture


The Czartoryski family, from Poland, has effectively dropped its claim for a medieval chasse which had been on loan from a UK private collector to the Victoria and Albert Museum. The chasse was seized by the Metropolitan Police in January 2006, following a Nazi-era spoliation claim. The Limoges enamel reliquary dates from about 1200 and was made to hold relics of Thomas Becket. The Czartoryski family lost a collection of enamels during the war and the work on loan to the V&A was similar to one of those missing, although the identification was uncertain. After the Czartoryski family failed to pursue the claim, the police returned the chasse to the UK owner, the daughter of the late Margaret Drey, a London dealer. It will not be returning to the V&A.


In our July issue (p13) we published an article entitled “V&A will not get its casket back” in which we reported that the Czartoryski family had dropped their claim to the Limoges medieval reliquary which was on loan to the V&A. We now accept that this comment was incorrect and are happy to set the record straight. The Czartoryski family have asked us to make clear that while the state of English law currently makes these things complex, they have not relinquished any of their rights to recover the casket in other jurisdictions, and that they will pursue the issue vigorously wherever possible with the support of the Polish Ministry of Culture.