the Townley Venus / waiter
In December 2015, the right thumb of this ancient Roman sculpture was accidentally broken off by an unwitting waiter during a catered event at the British Museum.
The waiter, who was working for one of the external catering companies employed by the museum, got too close to the statue; he bent down underneath it and, upon getting up, bumped into the marble hand, snapping off the right thumb.
Luckily, it was a clean and easily-repaired break, with the restoration carried out in the gallery during off hours.
This was not the first time the statue encountered such an accident. In 2012, a visitor to the museum bumped into the statue, cracking the same hand. As with this most recent incident, the damage was soon repaired.
What’s more, the statue’s right index finger was broken off before the Venus came to the British Museum and remains so to date, although how this occurred isn’t entirely clear.