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A waiter has broken the thumb off an Ancient Roman sculpture at the British Museum

By Matt Breen

Who'd work in catering, eh? The hours are unsociable, it's high-pressure, you get all kinds of grief from drunk people – and then you go and break an Ancient Roman sculpture.

At least, this is what happened to a waiter working at the British Museum last December, according to The Art Newspaper. They say the incident took place at a corporate event being held at the 263-year-old institution. The unfortunate member of staff (who must now be the hospitality industry's equivalent of the dancer who yanked at Madonna's cape at the Brits last year) knocked the thumb off the 'Townley Venus'. Which just happens to be somewhere between 1,900 and 2,000 years old – a copy of an older Greek sculpture of the goddess of lurrrve. So, you know, kind of a priceless artefact and all that. 

Luckily, it was a clean break, and after a team of conservators came in with some superglue, Venus is back to her old four-digit self. (Confusingly, she already was already missing a finger – though that was lost long before she came to live at the BM.) Hopefully future catering teams are going to be a tad more careful.

The Townley Venus is on display in Room 84 at the British Museum.

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