The Portland Vase
The Portland Vase is a Roman cameo glass vase dated somewhere between AD 5 and AD 25.
In 1845, while out on loan to the British Museum, the vase was shattered by a man named William Lloyd, who, after a week-long drinking binge, picked up another sculpture and threw it at the vase, smashing it to pieces.
At that time, the vase was only partially reassembled, as the restorer was unable to replace all of the pieces. (The missing fragments were apparently put into a box at some point in the process, misplaced, and ultimately forgotten.)
Then, in 1948, the vase’s keeper received the thirty-seven fragments in the mail. (The sender was not sure what the pieces were, and had actually sent them to the British Museum in hopes of identifying them.) Using these pieces, the vase was able to be fully reconstructed. Additional restorations were required and completed in 1986 and 1988. The restored vase was returned to public display in 1989, with little sign of the original damage visible.