A sculpture of three llamas that has become a symbol and emblem of the private Potomac School in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington DC has been severely damaged in an apparent act of vandalism, according to authorities.
In an announcement made on Tuesday, the Fairfax County police said the McLean-based school is offering a $5000 reward for the arrest and prosecution of whoever destroyed the sculpture. In addition to the school’s reward, as much as $1,000 may be available from the Crime Solvers program, according to police.
The heads were broken off each of the three llamas depicted in the sculpture, the police said. One of the heads is presumed stolen, the police said. Two others were apparently located on the school grounds.
According to the police, the vandalism occurred at the school in the 1300 block of Potomac School Road between the evening of December 21 and the morning of December 22.
It appeared that no information about the vandalism had been released previously to the public.
In their announcement, the police said the work “holds special value” both for the school and its community. It appears to be made of a light gray stone.
Photographs of the sculpture before the vandalism show three llamas standing in a tight circle, depicted in a slightly abstract style. They appear to be close to life size, and while they have been called whimsical, they are easily recognizable as llamas.
In their arrangement, they each stand erect, and seem to be communing together, and perhaps sharing the wisdom of their animal nature.
The llama is a domesticated four-legged animal native to South America. It is a wool producer. Fully grown it is more than five feet tall.
No reason for the destruction could be learned. Police gave no information about anyone who may have taken responsibility, and no indication was reported of any slogans or messages associated with the act.
The sculpture was donated to the school in 1970, according to the school website. It was created and given by Una Rawnsley Hanbury, according to information from the school. Hanbury, an artist whose work included other depictions of animals,died in 1990.
She was the mother of a teacher at the school and agrandparent of four students, the school web site said. Reference works indicate that she was British-born and studied in Britain at the Royal Academy Schools. An influential teacher was Sir Jacob Epstein, who was known for his influence on modernist sculpture.
No photograph was available of the severed heads or of the current state of the statue. The sculpture has been covered.
It was not clear why the llama sculpture was donated to Potomac. The school’s athletic mascot is the panther. However, an alumni enewsletter has been called Llama Notes, suggestive of the significance of the sculpture.