Another major bronze theft has taken place, this time at the newly renovated Watts Gallery in Surrey. It is now thought that heavy scale specialist lifting equipment was used to steal the five tonne bronze water feature by William Pye, which is valued at over £60,000. The stylised bowl was prised from its base in a night-time raid sometime between Thursday (March 26) and Friday (March 27).
Detective Constable, Matt Denman, stated: “The theft of this unique water feature will have taken some pre-planning and several people with specialist equipment to remove the item from the site, therefore someone will know who is responsible for the theft and I urge them to share this information with us.”
The Watts Gallery Trust is currently working with Surrey Police, and has actioned an urgent review of their security measures. The sculpture titled ‘Coracle’ by the 77 year old Royal College of Art graduate, is on long-term loan to the Trust.
This latest theft is now added to a growing list of valuable works in bronze including a Barbara Hepworth from The Dulwich Picture Gallery and a Henry Moore from the Henry Moore Foundation. It is thought that the works of art are melted down for scrap metal and sold for a fraction of their actual value. Any Information can be passed to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
William Pye was born in London in 1938. He studied at Wimbledon School of Art (1958-61) and at the Sculpture School of the Royal College of Art (1961-65). His sculptures of the 1960s were abstract forms and showed Pye’s preference for the traditional materials of metal and stone. Highly polished geometrical works in stainless steel of the 1970s, some of which included elements of movement, reflection and the use of light led him logically to consider water as an essential part of his artistic expression. The natural world that he explores in his sculptures is interpreted through water, metal and stone, where disarmingly simple concepts become the objects of utmost sophistication.