15 Apr 2011

Otago academic involved in international art case

10:34 am on 15 April 2011

An Otago University academic has found himself involved in an international art case that is now the subject of a police investigation.

Two years ago, art historian Mark Stocker was asked for advice on an historic bronze statuette of Canterbury's founder, John Robert Godley.

He was consulted because a London antique shop was offering to sell the statuette to the Christchurch Art Gallery for $90,000.

But it turns out the bronze may have been gifted to an English museum by the people of Canterbury.

Associate Professor Stocker says it appears the museum did not follow correct protocol when disposing of items.

Such procedures include finding out about the terms of the gift, informing the museum board of trustees, alerting other museums and supplying a statement on why the museum proposes to sell the item.