Sunday, October 12, 2014

Return of Parthenon Marbles Would 'Ruin' Museums, Warns Historian

Sir John Boardman, emeritus Oxford professor of classical archaeology and art, warns that an attempt by Geoffrey Robertson QC and Amal Alamuddin, George Clooney’s new wife, to help secure the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece could result in an "appalling precedent", resulting in museums worldwide "having to give up artefacts they had held for decades".
Geoffrey Robertson QC and Amal Alamuddin, George Clooney’s new wife, are flying to Athens next week for a three-day visit to hold a series of talks with figures including Antonis Samaras, the country’s prime minister, and Konstantinos Tasoulas, the culture minister.[...] Sir John said the move could threaten other items in the British Museum as well as the Louvre, which is “packed” with artifacts from Turkey, and museums in Berlin which also hold items from Turkey. “You would get all mixed up with nationalities and who owned what when,” he said.
Well, fancy that, the colonialists having to think about who owns the stuff they've walked off with.

Edward Malnick, 'Return of Elgin (sic) Marbles would 'ruin' museums, warns leading historian', Telegraph 10 Oct 2014.

1 comment:

  1. With all due respect to Emeritus Professor, John Boardman, his reaction to new attempts at legal settlement of the dispute of ownership of the Parthenon Marbles, merely confirms the bankruptcy of the position of supporters of the British Museum and other illegal holders of artefacts of others. Instead of welcoming legal approaches to settlement of a dispute, he warns about the consequences of a settlement in favour of Greece even though the eminent professor asserts that the British Museum and other museums are in a favourable position: “Legally, they are in a very strong position. If they are legally in a strong position what do they have to fear from a judicial settlement
    Scaremongering arguments of old are not relevant to future judicial settlements. What is this “appalling precedent” that “would ruin any of the major museums of the world?” Do the major museums contain only stolen/looted objects of others and items of doubtful acquisition? The fear that a judicial decision that a major museum should return an item it is wrongfully holding, would lead to a run on all items in all major museums is a figment of the imagination of troubled museum directors and their supporters.
    We should expect intellectuals, including Oxford intellectuals, to be in favour of judicial settlement and the return of morality into the world of artefacts which has so far been dominated by fear and dubious ethics. Great museums should set high standards of morality instead of raising alarm whenever another entity that feels wrongfully deprived of an artefact decides to seek the assistance of the courts in securing the restitution of its cultural objects.