Burglars broke into the palace-museum of renowned artist Raja Ravi Varma at Kilimanoor, about 30 km from Thiruvananthapuram, and decamped with three 'copies' of the master's paintings.
According to police, besides the 'copies' of Ravi Varma paintings, an original work by a descendant of the legendary artist was also found missing.
Police suspect that the thieves sneaked into the museum last night to take away the paintings.
According to Biju Rama Varma, a member of the Palace Trust, the original missing painting was a work by Bhavani Thampuratti, a descendant of Ravi Varma, based on the famous 'Hamsa Damayanthi' of her illustrious predecessor.
One of the best known Indian painters, Ravi Varma (1848-1906) was born in Kilimannur palace and drew many of his early works at the home studio, which has been turned into a memorial for the master by his descendants.
However, the palace does not have a single original painting of the master.