Bright blue crayons were found on a statue more than two centuries old on a nature reserve in England after activity packs containing crayons were distributed to children on the property, officials said.
The statue and a memorial were defaced this month at Croome, a 700-acre estate home to a manor house and two castles, as well as pansies, tulips and bluebells.
The National Trust, the conservation organization that oversees the extensive grounds near High Green, England, about 130 miles northwest of London, said it did not know how the markings came about or whether they came from crayons found on site. were distributed.
“Like many heritage organizations, we regularly host events for families and often hand out pencils or crayons,” the organization said in a statement.
On April 8, Easter weekend, bright blue markings were scribbled across the face, arms, and torso of the Sabrina statue, a depiction of a water nymph by sculptor John Bacon from the 1780s or in 1802 (the exact date is disputed) .
The statue stands in a cave on the grounds by a lake, a terminus of the River Croome, which meanders through the grounds.
The stone statue is about six feet tall, according to the National Trust. The nymph leans on her side, resting on an urn, which was used in the past to send water to the shores of the lake below.
A memorial to the landscape artist Lancelot Brown, known as Capability Brown, was also defaced with long, messy blue zigzag chalk marks, the BBC reported.
The National Trust said on Sunday that the markings had been removed from the Sabrina statue and that the organization was cleaning the Brown memorial.
The National Trust has not identified who is responsible for the defacements.
“Disappointing as they are, incidents like this are very rare given the millions of visitors who enjoy and respect the places under our care,” the National Trust statement said.
According to the National Trust, Brown was hired in 1751 to redecorate the main house and parks of the Croome estate, then owned by the 6th Earl of Coventry.
During World War II, the property was used as a station for the Royal Air Force and housed more than 2,000 personnel and scientists, according to the National Trust.
From 1979 to 1984, the house became the UK headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, or the Hare Krishnas. Subsequent owners attempted to convert the property into a golf course, apartments and a hotel before the National Trust acquired it in 1996.