August 2, 2016

New parliamentary bill adds weight to Parthenon Marbles restitution arguments

Posted at 1:32 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

The fact that such a bill has been proposed with cross party support means that whether or not implemented, the appetite for return exists in the UK

The below articles contain further coverage of the Parthenon Sculptures (Return to Greece) Bill currently presented to the UK parliament. Whether or not this bill actually becomes law,, it is indicative that there is cross party support for the restitution of the sculptures. As with many issues in parliament (the EU is one that has been prominent in recent months), those in different parties may support the cause for a variety of different reasons, but the fact remains that they are all supporting the same end goal.

Parthenon Marbles in British Museum

Parthenon Marbles in British Museum

From:
Hyperallergic

British MPs Propose Bill to Return the Elgin Marbles to Greece
by Allison Meier
July 11, 2016

With the 200th anniversary this week of the July 11, 1816 purchase through an Act of Parliament of the Parthenon Marbles for the British Museum, members of parliament (MPs) are introducing a bill that would repatriate the ancient artifacts. Greece has advocated for their return ever since the country’s 1832 War of Independence, but with the UK soon to negotiate its departure from the European Union following Brexit, supporters see this as an opportunity to finally send the sculptures back to their home.

The Parthenon Marbles, sometimes called the Elgin Marbles for Lord Elgin, who sold them to the British Museum, have a contentious and complicated history. The complications stem from the circumstances under which they were removed, and whether that removal under a time of Turkish occupation means they should be returned. The “Parthenon Sculptures (Return to Greece) Bill” asks for “provision for the transfer of ownership and return to Greece of the artefacts known as the Parthenon Sculptures, or Elgin Marbles, purchased by Parliament in 1816; to amend the British Museum Act 1963 accordingly; and for connected purposes.”

The Independent reported that the bill was introduced by Liberal Democrat Mark Williams, with support across parties including Labour, Scottish National, and Welsh nationalists. Williams said that in 1816, Parliament “effectively state-sanctioned the improper acquisition of these impressive and important sculptures from Greece.” The Independent also quotes the chair of the British Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, Andrew George, who said that the execution of Brexit could be an ideal time to show that it “doesn’t involve us becoming inward-looking and xenophobic towards the EU, but more confident, more able to be gracious. And there could be no better demonstration of that generosity and graciousness than to do what would be the right thing by the Greeks.”

Prime Minster David Cameron, who once quipped Britain wasn’t going to “lose its marbles,” is about to be replaced by Theresa May, although her stance on the sculptures remains unclear. What is evident is a shifting perception of what repatriating the Parthenon Marbles could mean to the UK’s image. An Ipsos MORI poll recently found that 69% of British people who knew about the marbles were in favor of their return, as opposed to 13% who were against it.

However, the history of recent attempts is not favorable. UNESCO offered to mediate a deal in 2013 and then in 2014, and after shrugging off those requests, the British Museum lent one of the ensemble’s larger statues to the State Hermitage Museum in Russia. In May of last year, the Greek government opted not to go to court for their restitution. Meanwhile this May, Greece’s Minister of Culture and Sports Aristides Baltas told the Guardian that the country is “trying to develop alliances which we hope would eventually lead to an international body like the United Nations to come with us against the British Museum.”

The British Museum, on its website, has a clear “position of the Trustees of the British Museum” that states:

The Museum is a unique resource for the world: the breadth and depth of its collection allows a world-wide public to re-examine cultural identities and explore the complex network of interconnected human cultures. The Trustees lend extensively all over the world and over two million objects from the collection are available to study online. The Parthenon Sculptures are a vital element in this interconnected world collection. They are a part of the world’s shared heritage and transcend political boundaries.

The museum’s new director, Hartwig Fischer, has personally backed this position. The institution points out that not all of the Parthenon Marbles are in London, as the Louvre, Vatican Museums, and other museums have fragments, and “approximately half of what survive from antiquity” are at the Acropolis Museum. The Greek museum near the Parthenon ruins also displays casts of what’s missing.

Yet the most superb parts of the Parthenon Marbles are arguably those at the British Museum, which has the lavish pediment statues and gorgeously carved friezes and metope panels. The poet John Keats, on seeing the pieces in London, was struck by the contrast between their decay and beauty, writing: ” So do these wonders a most dizzy pain, / That mingles Grecian grandeur with the rude / Wasting of old time—with a billowy main— A sun / —a shadow of a magnitude.” Whether the Parthenon Marbles will remain as a centerpiece of the British Museum or be repatriated remains a shadowy question, but one of great magnitude.

From:
Pappas Post

British MPs to Debate Bill for Return of Parthenon Marbles to Athens
By Gregory Pappas
July 11, 2016

A cross-party group of Members of the British Parliament will present a Bill on Monday July 11, 2016 which would annul decisions taken 200 years earlier to “state sanction the improper acquisition” of half of the sculptures from the Parthenon in Athens by Lord Elgin; during period when Greece was under Ottoman rule.

The MPs are supported by a UK campaign body, The British Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures. The campaign has attracted strong support from celebrities like Stephen Fry and Amal Clooney and has been the subject of many debates and publications over the years; perhaps most notably Christopher Hitchens’ The Parthenon Marbles: The case for reunification.

MP Mark Williams will present the Parliamentary Bill during Monday afternoon’s Parliamentary business. He is supported by MP Jeremy Lefroy and 10 other MPs from various political parties.

Mr Williams said, “If there had been a justification for taking these sculptures into safe keeping in the UK in the early 1800s that moment has now long passed. These magnificent artefacts were improperly dragged and sawn off the remains of the Parthenon.

“Indeed they have hardly been in safe keeping. Nearly lost altogether on their journey back and damaged by inept management whilst in the British Museum.

“This Bill proposes that the Parliament should annul what it did 200 years ago. In 1816 Parliament effectively state-sanctioned the improper acquisition of these impressive and important sculptures from Greece. It’s time we engaged in a gracious act. To put right right a 200 year wrong.”

Polls have consistently shown that a majority of the British people support reunification. A poll for the The Times newspaper found the general public backed sending the marbles back to Greece by two to one. And an Ipsos-Mori poll found 69 per cent of those familiar with the issue were in favor of returning the sculptures, compared to just 13 per cent against.

From:
New Europe

Liberal Democrat MP Mark Williams:“It’s time we engaged in a gracious act. To put right right a 200-year wrong.”
By Irene Kostaki
Journalist, New Europe

It was exactly 200 years ago when the British Parliament has voted an act to buy the Parthenon Scupltures that Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin and 11th Earl of Kincardine removed the marble sculptures from the Acropolis and gave them to the British Museum where they remain until today.

200 years after 11 July 1816, the Parthenon Sculptures (Return to Greece) Bill, is to be presented on the anniversary by Liberal Democrat MP Mark Williams, supported by Conservative Jeremy Lefroy and 10 other MPs from Labour, the SNP and Plaid Cymru.

“These magnificent artefacts were improperly dragged and sawn off the remains of the Parthenon. […] This Bill proposes that the Parliament should annul what it did 200 years ago. In 1816 Parliament effectively state-sanctioned the improper acquisition of these impressive and important sculptures from Greece.

New Europe presents the full text of the bill that is not yet officially released:

Parthenon Sculptures (Return to Greece) Bill
CONTENTS
1 Return of the Parthenon Sculptures
2 Amendment of the British Museum Act 1963
3 Other artefacts
4 Short title and commencement
A BILL TO Make provision for the transfer of ownership and return to Greece of the artefacts known as the Parthenon Sculptures, or Elgin Marbles, purchased by Parliament in 1816; to amend the British Museum Act 1963 accordingly; and for connected purposes.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

1 Return of the Parthenon Sculptures
(1)Ownership of the collection of artefacts known as the ‘Parthenon Sculptures’, or the ‘Elgin Marbles’, is transferred to the government of the Hellenic Republic, subject only to subsections (2) and (4).
(2)The artefacts comprising the collection in subsection (1) shall be determined by the Secretary of State by regulation.
(3)Before making a determination under subsection (2), the Secretary of State must consult—
(a)the Trustees of the British Museum,
(b)representatives of the Government of the Hellenic Republic, and
(c)any other person, body or institution that the Secretary of State believes to be appropriate.
(4)Subsection (1) has effect on the coming into force of an agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom and the Government of the Hellenic Republicin which terms are agreed relating to—
(a)arrangements for the suitable transportation of the collection determined under subsection (2);
(b)responsibility for the costs of such transportation;
(c)arrangements and conditions for the maintenance and display of the collection; and
(d)access to the collection for:
(i)experts
(ii)students, and
(ii)members of the public.
(5)The power to—
(a) make regulations under subsection (2), or
(b) enter into an agreement under subsection (4)
is exercisable by statutory instrument which may only be made after a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.

2 Amendment of the British Museum Act 1963

(1)In section 5 of the British Museum Act 1963 (disposal of objects), after subsection (4) insert—
“(5)Nothing in this section may be interpreted as applying to an artefact that—
(a)has been determined to be part of the collection under section 1(1) of the Parthenon Sculptures (Return to Greece) Act 2016, or
(b)is under active consideration by the Secretary of State for determination as to whether or not the artefact is part of that collection.”
(2)In section 9 of the British Museum Act 1963 (transfers to other institutions) after subsection (1) insert—
“(2)Nothing in this section may be interpreted as applying to an artefact that—
(a)has been determined to be part of the collection under section 1(1) of the Parthenon Sculptures (Return to Greece) Act 2016, or
(b)is under active consideration by the Secretary of State for determination as to whether or not the artefact is part of that collection.”

3 Other artefacts

Nothing in this Act shall be interpreted as applying to any artefact forming part of a collection within a national museum or gallery other than the artefacts mention in section 1.

4 Short title and commencement

(1)This Act may be cited as the Parthenon Sculptures (Return to Greece) Act 2016.
(2)This Act comes into force on the day after the day on which it receives Royal Assent.

From:
Greek Reporter

MPs Introduce Bill to Return Elgin Marbles to Greece
By Kerry Kolasa-Sikiaridi –
Jul 11, 2016

After 200 years of Greece being robbed of its famous marble Parthenon sculptures, known around the world as the so-called “Elgin Marbles,” it looks as though these 2,500-year-old marbles might actually be returned to their home in Athens.

The Greek Marbles that are on display at the British Museum have supporters of the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures from all over the globe demanding that they be returned to Greece.

Now a new UK Bill, The Parthenon Sculptures (Return to Greece), is set to be presented by a joint-partisan panel composed of Liberal Democrat MP Mark Williams, supported by Conservative Jeremy Lefroy and 10 other MPs from Labor, the SNP and Plaid Cymru.

“This Bill proposes that the Parliament should annul what it did 200 years ago. In 1816 Parliament effectively state-sanctioned the improper acquisition of these impressive and important sculptures from Greece,” Mr Williams said according to the independent.co.uk.

“It’s time we engaged in a gracious act. To put right a 200-year wrong,” he said.

“These magnificent artifacts were improperly dragged and sawn off the remains of the Parthenon.”

Recent polls have shown an overwhelming majority of UK citizens support the reunification of the Greek Marbles as an Ipsos-Mori poll recently showed 69 percent of Britons were in favor of returning the marbles, while only a mere 13 percent were against.

Under David Cameron’s governing, the UK government has remained in opposition to returning the statues to their rightful owners in Greece.

In 2011, he joked that Britain was not going to “lose its marbles.”

Following the recent vote in favor of Brexit, the desire by the UK public has increased even more in favor of returning the marbles to Greece.

“If we are about the negotiate a decent trade deal with our European friends, the last thing we want to do is to show the kind of raspberries and two-fingers that (Nigel) Farage was displaying in the European Parliament the other day,” Andrew George, chair of the British Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures said.

“And there could be no better demonstration of that generosity and graciousness than to do what would be the right thing by the Greeks,” George said.

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  1. aspals said,

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  17. georgiamykonos said,

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  20. GreeceTours said,

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