French decorative art stolen from 17-century country home in Sussex—for second time

Police appealing for information after five items, including a pair of Sèvres vases and a clock with a bronze figure of Apollo, were taken from Uppark on the South Downs

A pair of Sèvres vases, two candelabras and clock with figure of Apollo were among the objects taken from Uppark © National Trust, Andrew Fetherston

Important pieces of French decorative art were stolen on 25 August from Uppark, a National Trust house in West Sussex. Strangely, most of the objects had also been taken during an earlier break-in in 2004 and were recovered in 2012.

Uppark is a country house on the South Downs, built in 1690. It suffered a very serious fire during work in 1989, which destroyed much of the building. The house was then painstakingly rebuilt and restored, reopening six years later. This summer the house once again received visitors after the temporary Covid-19 closures.

Five pieces of decorative art were taken during the latest break-in. The losses comprise: a distinctive mantel clock with a large bronze figure of Apollo; a pair of Sèvres vases depicting Danaë and the Venus of Urbino; and a pair of candelabra on marble plinths. All are French and date from around 1800-07.

The mantel clock with a large bronze figure of Apollo © National Trust, Andrew Fetherston

The stolen items were taken from the saloon, the most impressive room in the house. Situated on the ground floor, it includes the original front doorway.

The mantel clock and the pair of Sèvres vases were both stolen during the 2004 burglary. Obviously detectives are now investigating a possible link to the earlier theft.

Although the August raid was confirmed yesterday, the National Trust is unwilling to reveal further details. Anyone with information relating to the break-in or the stolen items is asked to contact West Sussex Police.