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Have the Greeks failed in their attempt to reclaim the Elgin Marbles?

A letter in The Times responds to Dalya Alberge’s slightly misleading statement [1] a few days ago that The Greeks have failed to reclaim the Elgin Marbles from the British Museum.

The Times [2]

The Times
December 16, 2006
The Elgin Marbles dilemma

Sir, Dalya Alberge’s judgment that the Greeks have failed to reclaim the Elgin Marbles, from the British Museum must be viewed as strictly interlocutory (report, Dec 13). The Greek claim, dating from 1842, has been renewed by Britons and Greeks of every subsequent generation, and will not be over until it’s over.

The Getty Museum’s decision to return two more ancient artefacts to Greece, together with the return earlier this year of pieces from the Parthenon and the Erechtheion formerly in German and Swedish ownership, adds to the mounting pressure on the trustees of the British Museum to abandon their dismissive attitude to Greek proposals for the relocation of the Elgin Marbles to the magnificent new Acropolis Museum, which will open in Athens in a few months’ time.

Agreeing to reunite the British and Greek marbles in one gallery could bring enormous benefits to the British Museum in terms of reputation, prestige, scholarship and new loans from Greece. If the marbles are not returned the obvious gaps in the full-scale display will be an eloquent indictment of the British Museum, and of its trustees’ failure to appreciate that insularity, indifference to provenance and cultural trophyism are no longer practised by the world’s best museums.

Marbles Reunited
Sandy, Beds