May 21, 2005

Follow up to Sunday Telegraph article

Posted at 6:14 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Following the article in last Sunday’s Telegraph about the previously unpublicised instances of damage to the marbles in the post war period, the British Museum has released what they say is the complete list.

British Museum website

Parthenon Sculptures: Record of incidents following their re-exhibit ion after the Second Wor ld War 1949- present

This list brings right up to date the record set out in I.D. Jenkins, Cleaning and Controversy: The Parthenon Sculptures 1811-1939 (British Museum Occasional Paper no. 146, London 2001) by listing all incidents since their re-display in September 1949.

South Metope XXVI.
Two schoolboys scuffling; one fell and knocked off part of a Centaur’s hind-leg.
Leg came away at an old break and was replaced (it was not possible to replace two small chips
of marble at the back of the leg).

a) West Pediment Figure: circle enclosing a cross scratched on the right upper thigh.
b) East Pediment Figure: a fragment of marble about 4cms long broken from fold of drapery on the inside of the figure’s right knee, above the line of an old break. Greater part of the fragment was found on the floor and replaced.
c) West Frieze, Slab II: a sliver of marble about 5cms long and 0.5cms wide was prised from the right-hand edge of the patch of corrosion on the rump of the leading horse.

East Pediment Figure
Four shallow lines (longest 12cms) scratched below figure at rear.
This is an area where the finished surface was roughly cut away in antiquity to enable the figure to fit into the pediment.

West Pediment Figure
Rear part of upper right thigh scratched with letters
Area conserved with watercolour.

South Metope XXVI.
In an apparent attempt to remove lead from dowel hole in the Centaur’s hoof, one side of hole slightly abraded and series of scratches on background.
Abrasions are to an area where the ancient surface has not survived; scratches are faint.

West Pediment Figure (inadvertently reported as Figure P).
On 9 June 1981 a few slight chips and scratches occurred to the top of the figure, when it was struck from above by part of a glass skylight dislodged by an external contractor from the Property Services Agency (PSA) who lost his balance.
The area affected is mainly where the ancient surface has not survived.

East Pediment Figure
Small fragment (2cms long) from right leg found detached on plinth next to sculpture.
Fragment rejoined.

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