October 1, 2009

British Museum to return Lewis Chessmen to return to Scotland

Posted at 1:16 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

More coverage of the expected news that some of the Lewis Chessmen in the British Museum will be loaned to Scotland’s National Museum temporarily.

Press and Journal

Chessmen to make move back to Scotland
Checkmate for First Minister as iconic Lewis pieces are finally repatriated
By Cameron Brooks
Published: 01/10/2009

CULTURE Minister Mike Russell is expected to announce today that the British Museum in London has agreed to return some of the world’s most famous chess pieces to Scotland.

The Press and Journal understands that trustees will lend the National Museum of Scotland a substantial number of the 82 Lewis Chessmen pieces it holds on a temporary basis.

The collection, with 11 pieces housed at the National Museum in Edinburgh, will be toured around museums in the north, north-east and islands in the coming months.

Thought to have been made in Norway between 1150-1200, the pieces are carved out of walrus ivory and whales’ teeth and were discovered on a beach near Uig in 1831. They depict seated kings, queens, mitred bishops, mounted knights, standing warders and obelisk-shaped pawns.

The announcement is a victory for First Minister Alex Salmond and SNP politicians who have been lobbying for the return of the iconic pieces to Scotland for several years.

UK Culture Minister Margaret Hodge branded attempts to reunite the Lewis Chessmen “a lot of nonsense” in January 2008.

She also questioned if SNP policy would mean the repatriation of valuable artefacts from Scottish museums.

The British Museum lent some of the Lewis Chessmen to Museum Nan Eilean at Stornoway in 1995. The pieces, which were used as a model for a scene in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, have been also been lent to museums in Britain, Europe and Asia.

Only 58 chess pieces are on display at the London museum because the others are undergoing conservation work. Sir Angus Grossart, chairman of National Museums Scotland, and Bonnie Greer, deputy chairwoman of the trustees of the British Museum, are joining Mr Russell for the announcement at the National Museum of Scotland this afternoon.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Possibly related articles

Tags: , , , , , ,

RSS feed for comments on this post

Leave a Comment

We want to hear your views. Be as critical or controversial as you like, but please don't get personal or offensive. Remember this is for feedback and constructive discussion!
Comments may be edited or removed if they do not meet these guidelines. Repeat offenders will be blocked from posting further comments. Any comment deemed libellous by Elginism's editors will be removed.
The commenting system uses some automatic spam detection and occasionally comments do not appear instantly - please do not repost comments if they do not show up straight away