Showing results 13 - 24 of 50 for the month of July, 2008.

July 21, 2008

Gordon Brown speaks on the Elgin Marbles

Posted at 12:44 pm in Elgin Marbles

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has commented publicly on the Elgin Marbles, during an interview on BBC’s One Show. His response predictably follows the line of previous statements by the Department of Culture Media & Sport on the issue.

You can listen to the show online on the BBC’s website for the next few days. The relevant section is about fifteen minutes into the programme.

Daily Telegraph

Gordon Brown’s son calls him ‘Gordon’ rather than ‘dad’
By Rosa Prince, Political Correspondent
Last Updated: 8:44PM BST 17/07/2008
Gordon Brown has told how his five-year-old son John had taken to calling him “Gordon” rather than “dad”.


Despite a tape-recorded plea from Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the owner of the budget airline Easyjet, Mr Brown said that he did not support the return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece.

Insisting the best place for the Marbles was the British Museum, he added: “From everywhere in the world people can see them free of charge.”

July 19, 2008

Four hundred Benin Bronzes in Chicago’s Field Museum

Posted at 10:37 am in British Museum, Similar cases

Kwame Opoku writes about the opening of the exhibition Benin-Kings and Rituals: Court Arts from Nigeria in Chicago & how maybe some of the sculptures would be appreciated more if they were returned to their original context.

Modern Ghana

Further Report from the exhibition “Benin-Kings and Rituals: Court Arts from Nigeria”
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article | Fri, 18 Jul 2008

The article below provides us further report on the opening of the exhibition which is now at the Art Institute of Chicago. until 21 September,2008. I was very interested to note that the Field Museum in Chicago has some 400 Benin bronzes, a fact which up to now seems to have escaped the attention of many of us who believe that the time has come for the various holders of the Benin bronzes to take a courageous step in returning some of the pieces. Americans and Europeans cannot need these Benin bronzes as much as the people of Benin.
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July 17, 2008

The Elgin Marbles under Scots law

Posted at 12:57 pm in Elgin Marbles

Another followup to John Huntley & Tom Minogue’s letters to the Scotsman on the Parthenon Marbles issue & how it could be handled.


Marbles under Scots Law

I was rather bemused that Tom Minogue (Letters, 15 July) first of all disagrees with my suggestion that the SNP government is guilty of hypocrisy in relation to the Elgin or Parthenon Marbles, but then goes on to encapsulate my argument rather eloquently. If it was his intention merely to state that the SNP are not alone among politicians in displaying such duplicity, then I readily agree, but that in itself does not mean that the cynicism of Alex Salmond’s government should not be e
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July 15, 2008

Is the British Museum afraid?

Posted at 12:42 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Kwame Opoku in his latest piece notices the same coincidence as I did with the current burst of over-zealous publicity for the British Museum.


Written by Dr. Kwame Opoku
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Panic and Panegyrics:Comments on “Songs of Praise” for the British Museum

We have had within the last few days a spate of articles, all praising in fulsome language the British Museum and its director, Neil MacGregor. One article, “Is the British Museum the greatest museum on earth” written by Damien Whitworth, appeared in the Times on 12 July.

Another sycophantic article, by Ben Macintyre in The Times of July 10, 2008, is captioned, “Let’s all have tickets to the universal museum”, arguing that “It’s pointless trying to work out who owns ancient art objects. We need to share them around the world”. A third article, by Tristram Hunt, “The British Museum is now our top attraction. If only others would shrug off their deadening ways and follow its lead”, appeared in The Observer on Sunday July 6, 2008.
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July 14, 2008

Is Cuno relenting on restitution?

Posted at 1:16 pm in Similar cases

Cuno’s comments at the opening of the exhibition Benin – Kings and Rituals: Royal Arts from Nigeria suggejst that he is willing to consider restitution claims. At this point though it is unclear whether he has had a change of heart since the publication of his book, or if his quote was taken out of context. If it is the former though, then it is a very positive step.

Modern Ghana

By Dr. Kwame Opoku
Feature Article | Mon, 14 Jul 2008

As readers know, the exhibition, Benin – Kings and Rituals: Royal Arts from Nigeria, which started in Vienna, in 2007, went on to Paris and Berlin, was opened in Chicago, on 10 July and will be there until 21 September 2008.

For various reasons, including the fear of litigation and judicial attempts to seize some of the Benin bronzes, only some 220 objects will be displayed in Chicago compared to some 300 objects in Berlin. The bad consciences of some of the holders of these objects seem to have been activated by the previous protests in Chicago and the discussions on the illegality and illegitimacy of their possession. Hence some owners were not willing to let their artefacts cross the Atlantic to the USA where judges are quick to order seizure of artworks which are alleged to have been stolen or dubious provenance.
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The Parthenon Sculptures inspire a historical novel

Posted at 1:06 pm in Elgin Marbles

Two more reviews of Karen Essex’s new book Stealing Athena, a story with the Parthenon Marbles at its heart & inspired by the Author seeing the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum.

Los Angeles Times

This time, Karen Essex tackles ‘Stealing Athena’
The author’s historical novels give voice to powerful women who flout traditional roles. Her latest involves the Elgin Marbles.
By Swati Pandey, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
July 14, 2008

Novelist Karen Essex remembers when she first encountered the name Aspasia, a courtesan in ancient Greece, while wading through a copy of Plutarch in graduate school.

“Plutarch suddenly starts talking about Aspasia as Pericles’ mistress,” she said, mentioning the Athenian leader. Aspasia “had the respect of the most intelligent men in an Athens in which women weren’t even citizens and were completely sequestered. It was very titillating, and just a tease, because Plutarch mentions her, and that’s it.”
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July 12, 2008

Marbles Reunited appoints full-time campaign director

Posted at 10:18 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Marbles Reunited, New Acropolis Museum

Following on from the news that Marbles Reunited has opened their campaign office, a press release gives more details on Thomas Dowson who has been appointed as Campaign Director.

Newswire Today

9 July 2008
Contact: Thomas Dowson +44 (0)20 7930 1813
Embargo: none

The campaign for the return of the Elgin marbles to Greece has moved up a gear with the appointment by Marbles Reunited of a full-time Campaign Director, Thomas Dowson, who will be based in the organisation’s office in the West End of London. The appointment of Thomas was warmly welcomed by Andrew George MP, Chairman of Marbles Reunited.

Says, Andrew George, “When the New Acropolis Museum opens later this year, the absence of the marbles will be obvious for all the world to see. The British Museum and the British Government could of course continue dragging it out, but that will look excruciatingly embarrassing as it would send out an undesirable impression of Britain’s arrogance. We have appointed a Campaign Director to up our profile, to enable an alternative dialogue between Greece and Britain. Thomas Dowson has a fine pedigree and the energy to see a job through.
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Following the Egyptian example for recovery of looted artefacts

Posted at 10:00 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Of all the African countries, Egypt has been by far the most successful in recovering their looted artefacts (three thousand in the last three years) from abroad. By studying the way in which they have operated, it is possible for other nations to see more clearly how their own efforts in this area could be re-structured to make them more successful. It is worth bearing in mind though that whilst Egypt has had many successes, it still hasn’t had any luck in securing even short term loans of some of its most treasured artefacts such as the Rosetta Stone & the bust of Nefertiti.


Recovering stolen cultural objects – the Egyptian example
Written by Dr. Kwame Opoku
Friday, 11 July 2008

From the information we have so far at our disposal, it seems the Egyptians are the most advanced among the Africans when it comes to the question of recovery of stolen or illegally exported cultural items. They seem in any case to be the best organized and the most active in pursuing this objective no matter the obstacles.

And the obstacles here are indeed great. One must contest with the long entrenched European ideology that Western Europe has a God-given right and indeed duty to collect and supervise all the cultural achievements of mankind. The concrete expression of this ideology is found in the ideology of the defendants of the so-called “universal museum”. There are also the large investments in antiquities and the powerful illicit trade in 3000 artefacts antiquities.
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Trade in cultural property continues today

Posted at 9:45 pm in Similar cases

Just as Lord Elgin did over two hundred years ago, other people today continue to take advantage of political situations around the world as a means to acquire artefacts that might not otherwise be available for purchase. Unlike in Elgin’s time though, there are now numerous laws & statutes in place that are supposed to prevent such actions taking place,

Press TV (Iran)

Afghan manuscripts sold for a morsel
Fri, 11 Jul 2008 12:10:46

Keeping body and soul together, poor Afghan families put their priceless handwritten books under the hammer in the war torn country.

The manuscripts have bee taken to museums in Britain, France and Germany and the appeal to UNESCO to restore the books has failed so far, said Habib-ullah Takhari, the Afghan cultural attaché in Tehran.
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Bruce Blades & the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 8:05 pm in Elgin Marbles, International Association

Bruce Blades, head of the International Organising Committee – New Zealand – for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles, sadly died on 26th of June.

Bruce was a tireless campaigner for the reunification of the Elgin Marbles to Athens, with his efforts eventually leading to a motion being passed in New Zealand’s parliament urging the British Museum to return the sculptures.

He will be missed greatly both by the campaign within New Zealand, but also by other reunification campaigns around the world.

Dominion Post

Zisis Bruce Evangelos Blades
Tireless community worker
PETER KITCHIN – The Dominion Post | Thursday, 10 July 2008

Zisis Bruce Evangelos Blades, engineer: Born Wellington, September 8, 1937; married 1967 Kathy Papadimitriou 1 son 1 daughter; died Wellington, June 26, 2008, aged 70.
Bruce Blades, of Brooklyn, was a civil engineer whose multiplicity of skills extended to sports field strategies and diplomacy.

He was a cultured dynamo whose enthusiasms were tempered by a great deal of commonsense and a closely held understanding of team and family dynamics. His negotiation skills were first-rate, and he had a disarming capacity for leaping hurdles in order to reach solutions.
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The Elgin Marbles issue exposes the SNP’s duplicity

Posted at 7:56 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

John Huntley’s letter last week has prompted this response, highlighting the differences in the approach of the Scottish National Party between cases where they can gain politically (such as the Lewis Chessmen) & cases where they believe that supporting it will not help drive their nationalist agenda (sch as the Elgin Marbles). This is a clear case of politics over-riding any moral or factual reasoning that might lie behind either of the cases.

The Scotsman

Marbles expose SNP
Saturday, 12th July 2008

John A K Huntley’s thought provoking Alternative Take (8 July) on the Elgin or Parthenon Marbles exposes Alex Salmond’s government for what it is in relation to Scotland’s supposed influence and power for good in the world.

It is quite clear that where there is political capital to be had from talking up all things Scottish, SNP government ministers will assume the moral high ground and pontificate relentlessly to those who might listen. However, suggest a situation where an eminent Scottish personality might be deemed to have acted beyond the pale, and the SNP doesn’t want to know. Even where the outcome (however unlikely) could have resulted in the repatriation to Athens of artefacts held in a British Institution.

Compare their reaction to Mr Huntley with the debates surrounding the Lewis Chessmen or the Stone of Destiny (neither of which were “stolen” from their original locations) and one can only marvel at the SNP’s political gymnastics.

Baird Terrace

How the Parthenon sculptures will be displayed in the New Acropolis Museum

Posted at 7:51 pm in New Acropolis Museum

After much speculation & various conflicting reports, it now appears in the New Acropolis Museum, the copies of the British Museum’s Parthenon Sculptures will be displayed with a whiter colour than the authentic sculptures that they sit amongst. There is a certain irony in this of course, harking back to the cleaning controversy of the 1930s. Maybe once the actual sculptures are returned, they will still look much whiter.

This article is also notes that the museum is now scheduled to open in September of this year.

The Art Newspaper

Parthenon frieze will be recreated in New Acropolis museum
Originals to be displayed next to plaster casts of British Museum’s marbles
Martin Bailey | 10.7.08 | Issue 193

LONDON. The long-awaited formal opening of the New Acropolis Museum in Athens has now been scheduled for September, after a series of delays. The gallery housing the Parthenon marbles, at the top of the museum, with a view towards the actual Parthenon 300m away, will be finally unveiled, although many of the other displays are not expected to be completed until next year.

After years of discussions, the museum has now decided how it will present the marbles. The originals are being displayed alongside plaster casts of the pieces removed from Greece, most of which are in the British Museum in London.
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