Drunken Destruction of the Portland Vase

portland vase

In 1845, a drunken visitor to the British museum smashed the Portland Vase.

Discovered in a funerary monument in the 16th century, this vase passed through several hands. Finally, the Duchess of Portland obtained it in 1784. In 1810, the current Duke donated the vase to the British Museum. It became known as the Portland Vase.

At this point, the vase had survived from the first century up to the 19th century. Unfortunately, it could not survive visitors to the British Museum. In 1845, a drunken man picked up a stone from the sculpted stone exhibit and smashed it into the glass case containing the vase. The vase shattered into many pieces.

The British Museum has tried to fix the vase three times throughout the years. They bought the vase outright from the Portland family and display it. The museum may be more careful about admitting clearly drunken visitors after that destruction.

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