Showing 9 results for the month of January, 2013.

January 28, 2013

The return of cultural treasures – and it wasn’t the Parthenon Marbles that opened the floodgates

Posted at 2:03 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Regular readers of this blog will no doubt have noticed the increase in returns of disputed artefacts in recent years. American Museums have led the way here, but many others are now being drawn into this new way of operating – to return the artefacts without things progressing as far as legal action, on the basis that doing so will aid other co-operative projects with the countries involved.

For many years, people clamoured that the return of the Parthenon Marbles would open the floodgates for the emptying of museums. Now, it appears that the floodgates have already partially opened & the Parthenon Marbles had nothing to do with it.

So – now that that argument seems no longer valid, surely it is time for the British Museum to reconsider the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures in Athens? Unlike many of the countries that have threatened legal action, or to withdraw co-operation, by blocking exhibit loans etc, Greece has always maintained good relations with museums in Britain – but it appears that taking the nice approach counts for nothing in this instance – the carrot is not enough & there needs to be the threat of some type of stick before large institutions are willing to come to the negotiating table.

New York Times

The Great Giveback
Published: January 26, 2013

THE news has become astonishingly routine: a major American museum announces it is relinquishing extraordinary antiquities because a foreign government claims they were looted and has threatened legal action or other sanctions if it doesn’t get them back.

In the past two months, the Dallas Museum of Art has transferred ownership of seven ancient artworks, including a pair of Etruscan bronze shields, to Italy and Turkey; the Toledo Museum of Art has handed over to Italy a rare water vessel that had been on display since 1982; and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has announced it will be transferring to Sicily a terra-cotta head believed to depict the Greek god Hades, which it purchased from a New York dealer in 1985 for more than $500,000. Other museums across the country — including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Cleveland Museum of Art — have also given up prized antiquities.
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January 24, 2013

Collecting the Parthenon – Talk by Dorothy King at the Wallace Collection

Posted at 9:29 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Events

Dorothy King is giving a talk at the Wallace Collection on 28th January, as part of their History of Collecting series of seminars.

The title is a little worrying – one hopes this isn’t the point at which she outlines that the marbles were just the start & now is the time to organise the the removal of rest of the Parthenon…

Wallace Collection

History of Collecting Seminars

Seminars in the History of Collecting Programme 2013. All lectures start at 17.30 in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre. Booking not required unless stated:

28th January: Dorothy King, Independent scholar, Collecting the Parthenon


January 16, 2013

Watercolours from Elgin’s artist go on sale

Posted at 2:11 pm in Elgin Marbles

Two paintings by Giovanni Battista Lusieri are going on sale. These paintings were displayed in Scotland last year in an exhibition of the artist’s work. Lusieri wass famous for being the artist employed by Lord Elgin to document the Parthenon Sculptures & their removal. None of those paintings survive, ass they were all destroyed when the ship carrying them was wrecked, but seeing the two pictured in this article, gives an idea of the level of detail & quality that they may have contained.

Daily Telegraph

Rare watercolours by Giovanni Battista Lusieri for sale
By Martin Chilton, Culture Editor online
7:10AM GMT 15 Jan 2013

Rare watercolours by Italian artist Giovanni Battista Lusieri, the man famous for his removal of marbles from the Parthenon for Lord Elgin, go on sale in New York after Scottish National Gallery show.

Two significant watercolours by Italian painter Giovanni Battista Lusieri (1754–1821), a man renowned for his involvement in the removal and shipping of the Elgin Marbles to England, are to go on sale in New York.
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January 15, 2013

Art courses at the New Acropolis Museum

Posted at 2:03 pm in New Acropolis Museum

Starting from January, the Acropolis Museum in Athens will be organising various workshops on ancient technology, with the first on on the way museum replicas are made due to take place today.

Greek Reporter

The Acropolis Museum Organizes Art Courses
By Christina Flora on January 5, 2013

The Acropolis Museum is organizing workshops on ancient technology, modern preservation and production of replicas. Courses will start in January to entertain and inform those interested in learning these arts.

On Jan. 15, the first scheduled course on the ways museum replicas are made will begin. This course will be taught from Tuesday to Sunday twice a day, at 11:00 a.m., and 12:00 noon. Classes will include 20 people with admission using the same-day ticket to the museum on a first-come, first-served basis.

Those who want to visit the museum should bear in mind that from Jan. 8, it will be operating on its winter program. Its restaurant will operate the same hours, except for Friday evening, when it will stay open until 12 midnight.

A London taxi driver tells a tourist the wrong story of the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 1:56 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

I have to admit, I’m not entirely convinced by this Taxi driver’s version of history – clearly he wasn’t one of the many Cypriot drivers that have driven me around London in the past. On the other hand, seeing the reputation of black cab drivers for having political views somewhere to the right of Colonel Charles de Laet Waldo Sibthorpe, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised.

Chicago Reader

I needed to write this to claim a tax deduction on my vacation
Posted by Michael Miner on 01.07.13 at 06:40 AM


An excellent way to tap the pulse of a distant people is to take a taxi somewhere, one cabbie serving the busy fact finder as roughly the equal of two cocktail waitresses or three members of clandestine political movements organized to cadge free drinks and meals from visiting reporters. Our cabbie was excellent. He made it clear that England stole the Elgin Marbles fair and square, and if Greece actually values its cultural heritage it should pack up the rest of the Acropolis and ship it all to the British Museum.


Vote for 38 Degrees to petition for the Parthenon Marbles reunification in 2013

Posted at 1:46 pm in Elgin Marbles

38 Degrees are a campaigning organisation, that (amongst other things) creates online petitions for causes that they are supporting.

They are asking for suggestions on what campaigns to support in 2013.

I have submitted an idea for a Parthenon Marbles petition on their website. Please vote for this petition – you can place 3 votes for any one item on the site.

The petition is here.

38 Degrees

Reunifying the Parthenon Sculptures (AKA Elgin Marbles) in Athens

For nearly 200 years, half of the surviving Parthenon Sculptures (Also known as the Elgin Marbles) have been displayed in the Duveen Gallery in the British Museum in London. Greece has repeatedly asked for their return, yet the British Museum ignores all such requests and maintains that the sculptures now form an “integral part” of their collection.
The Acropolis Museum in Athens opened in 2009 and forms a far more suitable home for them, situated in the context of the Acropolis, allowing them to be understood in relation to the other surviving sculptures.
Keeping them in London is a continuing embarrassment for Britain, with most attempts to justify it harking back to a colonial era when such actions were acceptable.
Whether or not there is a legal requirement to return them is undetermined, but most people who are given all the facts believe that there is an overwhelming moral obligation to return them.

Who can make the decision for their return?
The decision to return the sculptures is a matter for the director & trustees of the British Museum. They are limited by law however, which means any campaign should also target the British Prime Minister & the Secretary of State for Culture.

How can people be persuaded to change their minds?
The biggest issue is one of education – the more people know about the case, the more they are likely to support it. This involves no propaganda style exercises – merely disseminating the provable facts.

How can I help?
Organisations such as Marbles Reunited & the BCRPM already campaign for the return of the sculptures, but their resources are limited & the campaign needs to reach a wider audience with the assistance of an organisation such as 38 Degrees.

January 3, 2013

Geneva – hub of the looted artefacts market

Posted at 2:03 pm in Similar cases

Many people in the past have told me that Geneva is the global hub for looted artefacts. Cases such as those involving Giacomo Medici only emphasise this fact.

The notion of the city as the ideal point of transfer for art deals taking place, well away from the public eye is exacerbated by the existence of free ports, which store artefacts, often purely for investment purposes – that will never see the light of day until they are maybe re-sold at some point in the future.

BBC News

2 January 2013 Last updated at 00:52
Geneva’s art storage boom in uncertain times
By Imogen Foulkes BBC News, Geneva

It may contain a treasure trove of Picassos but few have ever explored the riches in the Geneva free port art storage site.

In difficult economic times, investors are turning to more unusual commodities to protect their money. Gold may be a tried and tested safe haven, but in recent years fine art has been attracting increasing amounts of cash.
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January 2, 2013

Turkey advertises the fact that some tiles in Agia Sophia are copies with originals in other museums abroad

Posted at 2:13 pm in Similar cases

Following on from our start to the year with a story about Turkey, here is another one.

The idea of highlighting disputed artefacts by the original owners is not a new one – Greece has deliberately created casts in the New Acropolis Museum, which contrast with the portions of the portions of the Parthenon Frieze that are original.


Turkish ministry complains about Louvre Museum to visitors
Ömer Erbil – ISTANBUL / Radikal

Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry has placed a plaque next to the tomb of Sultan Selim II located in the Hagia Sophia complex to notify visitors that the grave’s tiles are replacements as the originals are in France’s famous Louvre Museum.

“These tiles are an imitation of the original ones. The original tiles are exhibited in the Louvre Museum,” the information plaque states in three languages, Turkish, English and French.
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Turkey’s Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay thinks western museums are panicking over Turkey’s focus on artefact restitution

Posted at 2:01 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Ertuğrul Günay, Turkey’s Culture Minister, believes that the museums of the west are now panicking because of his country’s intensive focus during the last year on the recovery of looted artefacts from their collections.

Hurriyet Daily News

Turkey’s artifacts move panics West museums
Barçın Yinanç

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Western museums appear to be panicking as Turkey continues to facilitate the return of many stolen artifacts, says Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay

Turkey remains committed to repatriating all the artifacts that have been stolen from its soil over the years, Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay has said while expressing hopes that regional neighbors will also receive back their ancient treasures.
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