A famous WWII-era portrait of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill has been stolen from an Ottawa hotel and replaced with a copy without staff noticing for months.
Last weekend, hotel staff noticed the photo was hung incorrectly and the frame didn’t match others in the space, CTV reported. Hotel officials then used photos submitted by the public to help determine when the original portrait and frame had been replaced.
The marketing director of the Chateau Laurier hotel told CNN that the investigation into the portrait’s disappearance is ongoing.
“So usually when a situation like this happens, it’s not shoplifting, it’s not just a break-in; it’s someone on the inside who had access, who knew what they were looking for, knew what security measures were protecting the piece and that (they) were able to to defeat these measures because they had confidential information,” Wittman told CTV.
The popular black-and-white photo shows Churchill scowling moments after Karsh ripped the cigar from the prime minister’s mouth to snap the picture.
“His connection to the hotel was very deep and very warm,” Jerry Fielder, director of Karsh’s estate, told CTV. “It was a very special print for him and it was a really beautiful print. So it has a very special meaning.”
Fairmont Château Laurier urged anyone with information about the stolen photo to contact local authorities immediately.
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