Counter Culture
April 21, 2018 posted by John Duke

AFTERGLOW: Plundering Beauty by Arthur Tompkins

AFTERGLOW: Plundering Beauty by Arthur Tompkins

On Tuesday the 17th of April, Unity Books opened its doors for the evening & welcomed an eager crowd to the launch of ‘Plundering Beauty’ by Arthur Tompkins.

Rhonda Pritchard and Arthur took turns speaking about the book and the process of making it – from its conception to completion, and all of the various hurdles along the way such as wrangling legal permissions for photographs, early morning writing stints and inspirational advice from strangers on planes.

Arthur Tompkins is a District court judge who teaches seminars on ‘Art in War’ in Umbria, Italy, and has previously published a book called ‘Art Crime and its Prevention’ (Lund Humphries 2016). He spoke about getting interested in art crime back in 2009 when he was working with Interpol on forensic DNA when he met a man from Interpol’s stolen art unit & became fascinated by his stories.

Rhonda spoke about her experience of reading the book, and shared two stories of women in history that had particularly resonated with her, one woman responsible for a great number of art thefts & another in WW2 who risked her life trying to protect great artworks from the Nazis.

Both mentioned the Four Horses of the Basilica San Marco even though they promised they wouldn’t.

Arthur’s book is not only a fascinating insight into the history of art crime, and some of the most notorious thieves in history, but also explores issues of legality, motives, ethics, historical preservation and colonialism, not to mention stories of brave men and women who have made it their task to protect histories treasures.


Arthur Tompkins

Rhonda Pritchard

Rhonda Pritchard

Glasses were charged.


Plundering Beauty is available in store and at Unity Books Online now.

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