Oh Dear What Can the Matter Be, the American Ambassador's Stuck Inside Sotheby's; ART LOVER: Robert Tuttle with His Wife Maria and, Right, Sotheby's
Byline: Daniel Boffey
CLOCK-WATCHING staff at a leading auction house sparked a terroristalert when they turned off the lights and locked up for the night.
For trapped inside Sotheby's in the darkness was America's Ambassador to the UKand his two bodyguards - convinced they were about to come under attack.
The envoy, Robert Tuttle, was viewing an exhibition of Impressionist and modernart, including a work by Picasso that later sold for [pounds sterling]7.4million, when thedrama unfolded.
Fearing something was wrong when the lights went off, Sotheby's deputy chief inEurope, Melanie Clore, who was with the three men, escorted them to the frontdoor - only to find it had been locked.
The protection officers are said to have braced themselves for a terroristattack and manoeuvred around their boss, while Ms Clore frantically guided themthrough the gloom to the back entrance.
The embarrassing incident happened last Saturday as the auction house in NewBond Street, London, was being closed at 5pm. Ms Clore, who was escorting MrTuttle around, apologised for the blunder. …