Council chiefs are facing a repair bill of up to £20,000 after two historic chandeliers were damaged during a revamp of the Inverness Town House.
The Regency lighting features were broken as they were taken down as part of a £4.2million refurbishment programme at the A-listed building.
It is understood the chandeliers were bought in 1957 and are worth between £5,000-£10,000.
Local authority officials are now in talks with their insurers to try to claw back the cost of repairing the ornamental lighting.
But it emerged last night that the council has not told the Northern Meeting Association – which owns the chandeliers – about the damage.
There are 13 chandeliers in the town house, five of which were bought by the association in 1957.
The three largest and grandest are located in the main hall, and the Press and Journal understands that two of them were damaged as they were being taken down by contractors.
Specialists are now restoring them using spares, with a promise they will be returned to their “former glory”.
The council’s Inverness City manager, David Haas, said: “Through the operation of the contract we have for the renovation of the town house, which is a complex contract, we have a very clear set of practices and procedures which protects us.
“The chandeliers are part of the fabric which we consider to be a very important part of our heritage.
“During the works, as can happen, the chandeliers suffered damage, one of the arms were broken.
“We have undertaken remedial work so it will be fully restored to its former glory. We have actioned it and we’re obviously looking to restore it as quickly as possible. It will be put back up.
“There are three in the main hall and they are particularly grand. It was those.
“Obviously, as part of the process, we were removing them and it was through that process that it was damaged.”
Mr Haas would not be drawn on their value or the cost of the repairs, saying only: “Clearly they have a significant value as they are large chandeliers, and any large chandelier is worth a significant sum.”
The Northern Meeting Association confirmed yesterday it had not been informed of the damage.
Asked why the owners had not been told, Mr Haas said: “They know we take great care of the chandeliers and they know with something like this we will deal with it.”
A spokeswoman for the council said: “During works at the town house, damage was sustained by two chandeliers. This is currently a matter being considered by the council’s insurance section and as such we cannot make further comment.”
Last night, Inverness Civic Trust spokesman, John West, said: “It’s very unfortunate that this has happened but at least this is something that can be repaired.
“Hopefully the people that caused the damage can restore them back to the way they were, and let’s hope no one notices the difference.
“From the point of view of disasters we have had in Inverness over the years, this is not particularly bad.”
Work is currently under way on the second stage of the £4.2million refurbishment of the 1882-built town house.
The contract, backed by £800,000 from government agency Historic Environment Scotland, has been largely funded by the city’s common good fund.
A separate £1.8million project will refurbish 1-5 Church Street, a common good fund building beside the steeple which was previously occupied by the council services department.