SANTA MONICA—On Wednesday, July 14, a beloved memento from the Olde King’s Head Pub in Santa Monica was stolen. The item, a portrait of the British icon Winston Churchill, had hung in the pub for decades and was a favorite of both patrons and employees.
Canyon News spoke with the manager of the pub, Lisa Powers, who confirmed that they had narrowed down the time frame for the theft; the portrait was taken on July 14, between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. The team at the pub first notified a British newspaper, but the incident was not reported in Los Angeles until recently. Powers said that, though no further developments have been made, with the recent press attention, the team is “hoping something will come from that.”
The painting features Churchill’s visage looking stern and serious in front of a stormy backdrop with the union jack fluttering and torn up behind him. The portrait was a fixture of the famed Santa Monica watering hole, having been brought over with the first owner Phil Elwell when he opened the place 35 years ago. Since its opening, the pub, which sits on Santa Monica Boulevard by Ocean Avenue, has become a favorite in the Santa Monica scene.
When asked about the reaction from patrons and employees, Powers said that the previous owners, who acquired the portrait, were deeply saddened to hear of the portrait’s loss. Along with the upset, many people have asked how this could have happened. Lisa noted that, “Everyone is more surprised—how can they remove a 4-foot-tall painting without anyone noticing?” Powers, who handled the portrait while they were re-painting the pub, said that, along with being very tall, the item is extremely heavy.
While the search persists and team members wonder how an item of the portrait’s size and weight could have been taken so anonymously, people with any information are urged to come forward and contact the pub directly at 310-451-1402.