Bright blue crayon marks were found on a statue that is more than two centuries old at a conservation site in England after activity packs with crayons were handed out to children at the property, officials said.
The statue and a memorial were defaced this month at Croome, a 700-acre property that is home to a mansion and two castles as well as violets, tulips and bluebells.
The National Trust, the conservation society that oversees the sprawling grounds near High Green, England, about 135 miles northwest of London, said it did not know how the marks came to be or if they came from crayons that were handed out at the site.
“Like lots of other heritage organizations, we regularly run events for families and we often issue pencils or crayons,” the organization said in a statement.
On April 8, Easter weekend, bright blue marks were scrawled across the face, arms and torso of the Sabrina statue, a depiction of a water nymph by the sculptor John Bacon from either the 1780s or in 1802 (the exact date is disputed).
The statue is in a grotto on the property near a lake, an endpoint for the Croome River, which winds through the grounds.
The stone statue is about six feet long, according to the National Trust. The nymph reclines on her side, resting on an urn, which in the past was used to send water into the banks of the lake below.
The National Trust said on Sunday that the marks 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 considering the millions of visitors who enjoy and respect the places in our care,” the National Trust statement said.
Brown was hired in 1751 to redesign the Croome property’s main house and parklands, then owned by the 6th Earl of Coventry, according to the National Trust.
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, the National Trust said.
From 1979 to 1984, the house became the United Kingdom headquarters for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, or the Hare Krishnas. Later owners tried to turn the property into a golf course, apartments and a hotel before the National Trust acquired it in 1996.