Museum Security Network

Arrest over theft of £50,000 work on camellias from RHS library

Arrest over theft of £50,000 work on camellias from RHS library
Chris Smyth
A former accountant suspected of stealing a rare 13-volume work on camellias from the Royal Horticultural Society library has been arrested.
William Jacques, 40, a Cambridge graduate, is alleged to have stolen the books, worth about £50,000, from the RHS Lindley Library in London.
He was arrested in Selby, North Yorkshire, on Christmas Day after a tip-off and has been charged with the theft of Nouvelle Iconographies des Camellias by Ambroise Verschaffelt. The work contains an array of detailed colour plates of the flowers and is regarded as one of the rarest and greatest works on camellias.
Verschaffelt came from a Belgian family of nurserymen who specialised in camellias and published his magnum opus on the plants over 12 years in the mid-19th century.
It is alleged that Mr Jacques signed into the library in Vincent Square under the name of Mr Santoro and hid the 13 volumes under his jacket.
None of the stolen books have been traced, antique booksellers have been urged to contact police if the works are offered for sale.
The Lindley Library is one of the world’s leading horticultural collections, containing books, journals, pictures and art on practical gardening, garden history, plants and garden design dating back to 1514.
Mr Jacques grew up on a farm near Selby before taking an economics degree from Jesus College, Cambridge. He later became a chartered accountant.
He will appear at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

Arrest over theft of £50,000 work on camellias from RHS libraryChris SmythA former accountant suspected of stealing a rare 13-volume work on camellias from the Royal Horticultural Society library has been arrested.
William Jacques, 40, a Cambridge graduate, is alleged to have stolen the books, worth about £50,000, from the RHS Lindley Library in London.
He was arrested in Selby, North Yorkshire, on Christmas Day after a tip-off and has been charged with the theft of Nouvelle Iconographies des Camellias by Ambroise Verschaffelt. The work contains an array of detailed colour plates of the flowers and is regarded as one of the rarest and greatest works on camellias.
Verschaffelt came from a Belgian family of nurserymen who specialised in camellias and published his magnum opus on the plants over 12 years in the mid-19th century.
It is alleged that Mr Jacques signed into the library in Vincent Square under the name of Mr Santoro and hid the 13 volumes under his jacket.
None of the stolen books have been traced, antique booksellers have been urged to contact police if the works are offered for sale.
The Lindley Library is one of the world’s leading horticultural collections, containing books, journals, pictures and art on practical gardening, garden history, plants and garden design dating back to 1514.
Mr Jacques grew up on a farm near Selby before taking an economics degree from Jesus College, Cambridge. He later became a chartered accountant.
He will appear at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

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