Showing results 1 - 12 of 97 for the tag: London.

August 12, 2014

Encasing the Parthenon Marbles in sand as bomb protection considered during first World War

Posted at 8:00 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Newly released information reveals that one of the way that the British Museum considerd protecting the Parthenon Marbles during the First World War was to fill the room where they were housed with sand. The idea was ditched, because of worries that the walls of the room would not be able to hold the weight of the sand. In the end, the sculptures were instead protected with sandbags in the gallers.

Not that many years later, in the Second World War, when the risk of bombing was far greater, they were instead transferred to disused London Underground tunnels for safety.

Parthenon Marbles being removed from the London Underground in 1948

Parthenon Marbles being removed from the London Underground in 1948

From:
Art Newspaper

British Museum’s battle on the home front during the First World War
Archive reveals how air raids threatened the collection and King George V intervened to stop the building being requisitioned
By Martin Bailey. Museums, Issue 259, July-August 2014
Published online: 30 July 2014

The British Museum’s curator of Oriental prints and drawings wrote what became one of most famous war poems in the English language. Laurence Binyon penned the lines of “For the Fallen” in September 1914 that are inscribed on thousands of memorials: “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old / Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn / At the going down of the sun and in the morning / We will remember them.”

Binyon volunteered for military service in 1915. He told the museum’s director: “I know I am not the best material [he was 45], but it does seem as if every man would be wanted before the end.” Binyon worked as a hospital orderly in eastern France in 1916.
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July 29, 2014

Are the British Museum planning on moving the Elgin Marbles

Posted at 1:07 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Various news articles give the impression that the British Museum will be moving some parts of the Parthenon Sculptures for an exhibition on ancient Greece taking place next year.

While the sculptures will not be leaving the museum at all during this process, it raises a couple of interesting points.

Firstly, the British Museum regularly makes the point that the sculptures can be seen free of charge in London – highlighting the fact that an admission fee is charged by the Acropolis Museum. However, large temporary exhibitions at the British Museum are never free – so you will no longer be able to see all the sculptures there for free while the exhibition is on.

Secondly, it has often been suggested in the past, that the sculptures are too valuable & fragile to be moved – that any handling might damage them. The fact that the British Museum is happy to move them around within the building shows that to move them to a more distant location would clearly be possible.

One assumes that Greece will probably be lending some sculptures to this exhibition. They should think long and hard so though, as to how they can also use their acto of generousity to highlight the British Msueum’s duplicity in this issue.

Parthenon Marbles in British Museum

Parthenon Marbles in British Museum

From:
Daily Telegraph

Elgin Marbles moved for first time in over half a century
British Museum to move the Elgin Marbles for the first time since their installation in 1962 as plans announced for blockbuster exhibition on ancient Greece
By Anita Singh, Arts and Entertainment Editor
3:53PM BST 02 Jul 2014

The Elgin Marbles are to leave their current home at the British Museum. Unfortunately for those who believe the treasures should be returned to Greece, they are not going very far.

The marbles are being relocated from one part of the museum to another – the first time they have been moved in over half a century.
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April 2, 2014

Unfortunately, the previous post on UNESCO mediation was not accurate

Posted at 12:01 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

As many may have spotted, yesterday was April 1st. As a result of this, some of the items I posted, may not have been entirely accurate.

Much as I (and many others) want the British Government & British Museum to enter into the UNESCO mediation process, thus far, there has been nothing except silence from them.

I should also note that Pillory Dour & Henna Biltong are entirely fictional characters, and that any resemblance of them to people working for the British Government & British Museum is entirely coincidental.

So, to make the previous post become reality, more needs to be done to encourage the Government to accept the mediation request. At the moment, they are ignoring it, because they feel comfortable taking this course of action. So, write to your MP, raise awareness, publish stories publicising the lack of response, so that eventually they might feel more inclined to take action.

March 31, 2014

Half of looted Sevso Silver returns to Hungary

Posted at 5:50 pm in Similar cases

It appears that China isn’t the only country that has decided that buying disputed artefacts back is sometimes the simplest way to re-acquire them following looting.

In this instance, it is the Sevso Silver, fourteen items which Hungary claims were looted, but were sold to private buyers during the 1980s. The treasure constitutes fourteen items in total. This purchase re-acquires seven of them for €15 million, from undisclosed sellers.

My earlier reservations still stand, as do those presented previously by Kwame Opoku.

Sevso treasure in 1990

Sevso treasure in 1990

From:
Guardian

Sevso treasure items repatriated by Hungarian government after UK sale
The Roman silver, discovered in Hungary in the 1970s, was bought from an ‘unidentified London seller’ for €15m
Dalya Alberge
Thursday 27 March 2014 17.51 GMT

The Hungarian government has repatriated seven of the 14 pieces from the Sevso treasure, a spectacular hoard of 4th-century Roman silver whose ownership had long been contested by several countries.

The Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, announced this week that the pieces have been repatriated to Budapest in return for €15m, reportedly paid to unidentified sellers in London. The pieces include the so-called “Hunting Plate” and the “Dionysiac Ewer”.
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October 25, 2013

Lord Elgin, boxing & the art of re-imagining the Parthenon Sculptures as integrally British

Posted at 5:52 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

This article looks at a lot of interesting aspects in a period of the life of the Parthenon Sculptures that is often glossed over. After they first arrived in Britain, some time elapsed before they were finally purchased by the British government. As this article explains, during this time, Elgin did everything he could to try & raise the profile of them & hype them up (after declaring them as of “little or no value” for customs purposes.

I am not sure about some of the conclusions however – I don’t know whether anyone really believed that they were taking the Marbles for their protection. This was more a justification that was post rationalised, because it sounded so much more palatable to the public, than the reality of taking them to decorate a house. Later, the same argument appealed to the British Museum, when in reality, they were most interested in adding a significant work to their collection & thus stopping anyone else from getting it.

View of Parthenon Frieze by Alma Tadema

View of Parthenon Frieze by Alma Tadema

From:
Open Democracy

The Parthenon Marbles and British national identity
Fiona Rose-Greenland 25 October 2013

Today, the British Museum’s Trustees argue that the Parthenon sculptures are “integral to the Museum’s purpose as a world museum telling the story of human cultural achievement.” But what does history tell us?

This article is part of an occasional series on ‘The Political Aesthetics of Power and Protest,’ the subject of a one-day workshop held at the University of Warwick in September, 2012. Democracy, since it does not function through command or coercion, requires instead a constant renewal of sets of symbols – symbols which appeal to people and instill in them a sense of belonging and identification. Increasing disenchantment and disillusion with the state, with political institutions, their practices and performance, makes it more important to explore the place of this aestheticisation of political language, the aesthetics of protest as well as of power.

But most the modern Pict’s ignoble boast,
To rive what Goth, and Turk, and Time hath spared:
Cold as the crags upon his native coast,
His mind as barren and his heart as hard,
Is he whose head conceived, whose hand prepared,
Aught to displace Athena’s poor remains:
Her sons too weak the sacred shrine to guard,
Yet felt some portion of their mother’s pains,
And never knew, till then, the weight of Despot’s chains. (XII)

Cold is the heart, fair Greece! that looks on thee,
Nor feels as lovers o’er the dust they loved;
Dull is the eye that will not weep to see
Thy walls defaced, thy mouldering shrines removed
By British hands, which it had best behoved
To guard those relics ne’er to be restored.
Curst be the hour when from their isle they roved,
And once again thy hapless bosom gored,
And snatched thy shrinking gods to northern climes abhorr’d! (XV)

Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. Second Canto (1812)

What is happening with the Parthenon sculptures, also known as the Elgin Marbles and widely lauded as the jewel in the crown of the British Museum?

When the new Acropolis Museum opened in Athens in June 2009, the British Museum faced unprecedented pressure to return the sculptures to Greece. Intellectuals, elected officials, and ordinary citizens weighed in, with public opinion apparently in favour of giving them back. It looked as though Museum officials might finally relent. The issue was back on the public agenda in June 2012, in a repatriation debate between Stephen Fry and MP Tristram Hunt, and again this month in a speech by Henry Porter in which he urged that returning the sculptures would be the right thing to do.
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June 18, 2013

Look but don’t touch doesn’t seem to apply at the British Museum

Posted at 4:33 pm in British Museum

This is a very long time since the original article, because something someone said on twitter just jogged my memory about this story.

Back in 2005, the Daily Telegraph ran a story about damage sustained by the Parthenon Marbles in the British Museum. At the time I contacted them with some images that I had taken during a previous visit to the museum. Initially they were interested in using these as the basis for a followup article, but subsequently the idea got dropped.

Anyway – during a visit to the British Museum, I was astounded to see how openly people were touching / stroking / grabbing / climbing on ancient artefacts, although the staff who were in the room seemed to be oblivious to it. In many ways, this is in stark contrast to the sometimes rather overzealous staff at some Greek museums who will blow whistles & shout to you the moment it looks like you might be able to do something that crosses the line between viewer & artefact. That said, however annoying they appear to be sometimes, they are doing a good job of protecting priceless ancient artefacts from further damage wherever possible.

The British Museum has said that it has a policy that artefacts must not be touched, but little effort is taken to enforce this.

What this all boils down to, is the assertions by the museum in the past that they are looking after disputed items such as the Elgin Marbles well, yet from what we can see, the opposite often seems to be the case.

The photos were taken as still from a video camera – hence the relatively poor quality. The original pictures are from late 2004 – but subsequent visits to the museum have confirmed that there is little real change in the situation depicted in them.

March 7, 2013

The Elgin Marbles & why they should be returned to Athens

Posted at 8:55 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

This article gives quite a convenient summary of what the Parthenon Marbles are & some of the key issues surrounding the case.

From:
Live Science

Elgin Marbles & the Parthenon
Owen Jarus, LiveScience Contributor
Date: 14 January 2013 Time: 04:33 PM ET

The Elgin Marbles, sometimes referred to as the Parthenon sculptures, are a collection of marble sculptures that originally adorned the top of the exterior of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, and are now in London, England.

They are currently exhibited, free to the public, in the Duveen Gallery in the British Museum. Although today the sculptures appear white, originally they were painted in vivid colors, something that new research is revealing.
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March 4, 2013

British recalcitrance over returning the Kohinoor

Posted at 9:23 am in Similar cases

More coverage of proposals for the return of the Koh-i-noor diamond to India, following British Prime Minister David Cameron’s remarks during his visit to India.

From:
India America Today

British Recalcitrance on Restoring Kohinoor to India
Article | February 28, 2013 – 10:06am | By Neera Kuckreja Sohoni

San Francisco – On February 20, 2013, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron placed a wreath at the Jallianwala Bagh memorial in Amritsar thereby becoming the first serving British prime minister to voice regret about one of the British Raj’s bloodiest atrocities in India, entailing the massacre of unarmed civilians in the city of Amritsar in 1919.

On the downside, Cameron rejected any possibility of Britain returning the 105-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond, embedded in the British Queen’s crown and on display in the Tower of London.
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February 25, 2013

Do the Londoners upset about the missing Banksy consider how Greece feels about the Parthenon Marbles?

Posted at 2:14 pm in Similar cases

The story of the Banksy artwork that disappeared from a wall in London has reached some sort of conclusion, with the news that the auction is no cancelled. It is great to see people getting so enthusiastic about preserving local artwork, but do the people whose protests stopped this auction ever consider how the original owners of many of the disputed artefacts in Britain’s museums feel?

If we consider the circumstances, the missing Banksy is a very weak case – there is nothng to indicate that it was not the owner of the wall who was selling it. Or that he had a right to do whatever he wanted to with this wall.

In term of the artwork, it could be argued that it was site specific – but only to the extent that Banksy had chosen that wall for it. realistically, it could have been applied equally well in many other locations. Furthermore, consider the duration that the artwork existed in this location for – only a matter of months. If this is contrasted to the Parthenon Marbles, they were located in-situ for over two millenia, and were designed specifically with that location in mind – to the extent that they formed an integral part of the building that they were on – they could not be removed without destroying parts of the building.

Stopping this auction & enriching the streets of the borough of Haringey might be a good cause – but the people supporting it really ought to think about the many far more important cases that Britain’s museums try & brush off as unimportant.

Interestingly, a new artwork has already appeared on the wall that the Banksy has been removed from – so restoring it is not possible without destroying another piece of art…

From:
Guardian

Banksy mural: I’m being scapegoated, says Miami art dealer
Richard Luscombe in Miami
Friday 22 February 2013 15.47 GMT

The owner of a Florida art house handling the controversial auction of a Banksy mural prised from a north London wall has spoken out to claim he is being unfairly scapegoated, and insists the sale is legal and will take place.

Slave Labour, a spray painting depicting a barefooted boy making Union Jack bunting in a sewing machine, by the celebrated street artist Banksy, was removed from the wall of a Poundland shop in north London last week under mysterious circumstances. As local authorities, residents and the shop’s owner have denied all knowledge, protests from UK authorities have turned to the Miami auctioneer.
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February 22, 2013

Who owns the Banksy street art on a wall? The wall owner or the public?

Posted at 7:22 pm in Similar cases

As the case of the Banksy artwork removed from the wall in Wood Green continues, more & more people are trying to draw slightly absurd parallels to the Parthenon Marbles & calling for the British Ministry of Culture to intervene to block the auction from taking place. However in this case, I can’t really understand quite what the basis for the arguments is.

It now seems clear that the owner of the building (of which the wall on which the graffiti was on was a part) authorised & presumably organised the removal of the artwork. No doubt they stand to make a reasonable profit from it. Now, Banksy picks the walls he paints on – with no consultation with the owners, so this lucky owner is soon going to be wealthier than they were before – and it is entirely through luck.

Haringey Council are claiming that the art is something that enriched the area & was in part something that belonged to the people. It is unclear how they can make this judgement, though, when much of their time is spent cleaning graffiti (that is typically of much poorer quality) off walls. There is no body which decides what is graffiti & what is street art – and that one must be scrubbed off & one preserved, so there argument does not really carry much weight.

It would be great if the work could have stayed – but that is just my own personal opinion – nothing more. Just because you don’t like what is happening, it doesn’t mean that the law should suddenly intervene (without any clear legal framework under which to do so).

Comparisons to the Parthenon Marbles are far more ridiculous – street art by its nature is a transient thing – even with protection, paint will flake off in a few years, leading it to fade away. The sale is being made legally (despite the fact that many people are upset by it).

From:
Artinfo

February 20, 2013, 6:25 pm
London’s Stolen Banksy Heads to the Auction Block Despite 11th Hour English Rescue Attempt

Part of the inherent definition of street art is that it is, by nature, public. It appears on the sides of buildings and on sidewalks, in doorways and on concrete blocks. It most often appears in urban neighborhoods, and tends to lend itself to some sort of social commentary. The illicit nature of the craft is in itself subversive and, as a corollary, non-commercial. Or it was anyway.

In recent years, street art has become gritty-chic, touted by the likes of Kate Moss, and therefore increasingly popular as a collecting category. Original works by Banksy, probably the most important street artist of the last twenty years, now fetch six figures at auction. It was only a matter of time before people started ripping down walls to, quite literally, extract the value from them.
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Mold gold cape to return from British Museum to Wrexham on loan

Posted at 2:37 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

This story seems very similar to that of the Lindisfarne Gospels – and is made more similar by the fact that the British Library & the British Museum used to be one & the same institution.

Yet again, an artefact is returned – but only on a very short term loan. This seems to be an acknowledgement that in some ways it belongs closer to where it was created – but at the same time limiting its visit to as short a period as possible, to stop people getting any idea that it may make sense for it to be permanently on display outside the British Museum.

From:
Wrexham.com

Mold Gold Cape To Return To Area
Posted: February 22, 2013 Written by Rob Taylor

The Mold Gold Cape will go on loan from the British Museum for public display in Wales this summer. In partnership with Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and Wrexham County Borough Museum & Archives, this will be the third time the cape will have been displayed in Cardiff and will go on to be shown in Wrexham, not far from where it was found. The Cape will be on display for free at both venues as part of the Spotlight Tours organised through the British Museum’s Partnership UK Scheme.

The Mold Cape is a unique ceremonial gold cape and made around 3,700 years ago, during the Early Bronze Age. A highlight exhibit at the British Museum, the cape will be shown at National Museum Cardiff 2 July to 4 August and then Wrexham County Borough Museum, 7 August to 14 September 2013.
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February 20, 2013

More on the “stolen” Banksy artwork

Posted at 2:03 pm in Similar cases

Reading the original article closely, it appears that the Poundland store does not own the building from which the Banksy artwork was removed last week. On this basis, although many have complained about its removal, none of the complainants has been the actual owner of the wall – which suggests that the whole removal was probably arranged legitimately.

The auction page selling the artwork can be viewed here.

From:
Guardian

Banksy mural torn off London Poundland store for Miami auction

Haroon Siddique
Monday 18 February 2013 12.54 GMT

A Banksy mural has been put up for auction on a US website with a guide price of up to £450,000 after being removed from a building in north London.

The artwork of a barefoot boy using a sewing machine to stitch union flag bunting, apparently in a sweatshop, appeared on the outside wall of a Poundland shop in Wood Green in May. It was widely interpreted as condemning child labour and mocking the impending Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations.
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