Showing 7 results for the month of March, 2005.

March 26, 2005

New research claims British ripped up Ethiopian manuscripts

Posted at 9:09 pm in Similar cases

Yet again, the story of what actually happened contradicts the line of the British Museum & Others in the UK that we [were/are] protecting artefacts that would have been [damaged/destroyed] had they been left in their original location.


The British Ripped Up Ethiopian Manuscripts, Claims New Research

Addis Tribune (Addis Ababa)

March 25, 2005
Posted to the web March 25, 2005

WHAT: The unveiling of new research showing how British collectors ruined and defiled a number of holy manuscripts stolen from Ethiopia. Also the display of two pages ripped out of an Ethiopian book by invading British soldiers that have just been returned to Ethiopia Read the rest of this entry »

March 24, 2005

British Library to return Looted Italian Manuscript

Posted at 11:13 am in Similar cases

Following the article in the Art Newspaper yesterday, most of the national papers in the UK picked up on this story today. However only the Guardian mentions the fact that a change in the law to allow the return, would potentially only cover items looted during the Nazi era & not other objects of disputed ownership.
None of the sources so far though have explained why this approach would be a reasonable or logical way to approach the problem. Surely, all other things being equal, an item looted by the Nazis & another item looted by others should have an equally strong case for restitution? Furthermore it seems particularly odd that the limitation period would also have a later limit (between the end of the war to… the present day presumably) in addition to the early limit for the period prior to the war.

The Guardian

Looted ancient book must be sent back to Italy

12th century missal found its way from a cathedral to the British Library. Now its return may mean a law change

Charlotte Higgins, arts correspondent
Thursday March 24, 2005
The Guardian

Wartime loot may summon up images of art treasures plundered by the Nazis from persecuted Jews, rather than a rare book acquired by the British Library from a respectable English army captain.

But now a 12th-century missal which has formed part of the library’s collection since 1947, must be returned to its home city of Benevento, in southern Italy, according to a ruling. Read the rest of this entry »

March 23, 2005

British Library set to return Benevento Missal

Posted at 6:49 pm in Similar cases

This story only highlights the problems with the laws governing so many museums & galleries in Britain that the Government needs to take action to resolve.

The Art Newspaper

British Library set to return Benevento Missal

By Martin Bailey

The Benevento Missal is to be returned to Italy, as a result of a claim submitted following an investigation by The Art Newspaper. On 23 March the UK’s Spoliation Advisory Panel recommended that the British Library should restitute the 12th century manuscript to Benevento cathedral.

This will be the first time that a UK national institution has returned an artwork or manuscript looted during the Nazi era. A change in the law will be required, since the British Library is legally barred from deaccessioning the manuscript. Read the rest of this entry »

Canadian teen jailed for taking rock from Parthenon

Posted at 6:36 pm in Acropolis

Not really that relevant, except inasmuch as it highlights how seriously Greece treats the protection of its antiquities nowadays

Victoria Times Colonist

Spring break in a Greek jail
Picking up a rock at Parthenon puts Duncan teen on wrong side of law

It’s unlikely Madelaine Gierc’s classmates will be able to top her stories about what she did during spring break.

The 16-year-old Grade 11 student from Duncan spent two nights in Athens police cells this week after being arrested for allegedly removing a piece of marble from the 2,500-year-old Parthenon, the marble temple perched on the Acropolis overlooking Athens. Read the rest of this entry »

March 16, 2005

Historic international digitisation project to reunite world’s oldest bible

Posted at 8:34 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The British Library has announced that the world’s oldest bible, the Codex Sinaiticus, is going to be digitised. The project involves an unprecedented level of co-operation between the four institutions that hold parts of the document. This sort of co-operation is what museums should be about – they are (at least within the UK) funded & perceived largely as research institutions, yet they choose to run themselves in a way that is entirely at odd with the way an academic institution would be run, where they try and keep as much information to themselves as possible, rather than freely sharing it.

British Library

World’s oldest Bible goes global: Historic international digitisation project announced

11 March 2005 :: Posted by Catriona Finlayson

An ambitious international project to reinterpret the oldest Bible in the world, the Codex Sinaiticus, and make it accessible to a global audience using innovative digital technology and drawing on the expertise of leading biblical scholars is officially launched today.

A team of experts from the UK, Europe, Egypt, Russia and the US have joined together to reunite this iconic treasure in virtual form. This unprecedented collaborative approach to achieve reunification involves all four of the institutions at which parts of the manuscript are held : St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai; the British Library, the University of Leipzig, Germany; and the National Library of Russia, St. Petersburg.
Read the rest of this entry »

March 12, 2005

Just how open are UK museums?

Posted at 1:00 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

The Freedom Of Information act which came into force at the beginning of this year could potentially have positive implications for cases of contested ownership of cultural treasures in British Museums. It gives the public a legal right to request certain information from the Museums that they would previously have been able to withheld or even deny the existence of.
The Art Newspaper has used the new act to try & obtain information from a number of UK museums, with varying degrees of success.

The Art Newspaper

Just how open are UK museums?
The Art Newspaper submitted requests to four institutions under new legislation which gives the public much greater access to government documentation
By Martin Bailey

london. When the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act came into force on 1 January, The Art Newspaper submitted requests to four major UK museums and galleries. We are now able to publish the responses from the National Gallery, the Tate, the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)—giving the first indication of whether the law is ushering in a new era of openness.

Our requests focussed on different issues at each of the four institutions, putting the spotlight on recent stories. We set out to choose issues on which we expected considerable data to be released, but where we knew there would also be sensitive material in the files which was was likely to be deemed “exempt” under the FOI Act and withheld. Our aim was to test the system and see where the parameters lie on the release of information.
Read the rest of this entry »

March 1, 2005

Edinburgh University refuses to return Ethiopian artefacts

Posted at 2:55 pm in Similar cases

While Ethiopia appears to be having some success in the return of the Axum Obelisk from Italy, it appears that other requests they have made have had less promising results.

The Herald (Glasgow)

University refuses to return Ethiopian artefacts
March 01 2005
Campaigners fighting for the repatriation of scores of treasures looted by British soldiers from Ethiopia more than a century ago have been dealt a blow by academics in Scotland.
Edinburgh University, despite a direct plea from the government in Addis Ababa, has refused to hand over four manuscripts with likely links to the troops’ invasion.
The Association for the Return of the Magdala Ethiopian Treasures (Afromet), which has involved the Queen in its quest for plundered artefacts and documents, said it would continue to fight for the return of the documents “taken violently as war booty”.
The university court, its governing body, yesterday supported a unanimous decision by a special advisory panel set up to examine the possible repatriation of the manuscripts.
In its report, the panel concluded that Afromet, as an international secular organisation independent of the Ethiopian government and church, had no mandate to represent the Ethiopian people and was not the original owner of the documents in question.
Read the rest of this entry »