The director of the British Museum Hartwig Fischer told Greek publication Ta Nea that the Parthenon Sculptures do not belong to Greece and will not be returned to Athens.
“The Trustees of the British Museum feel the obligation to preserve the collection in its entirety, so that things that are part of this collection remain part of this collection.”
During the interview he was asked if he believes Greek people are right to want the Parthenon sculptures back, he replied, “I can certainly understand that the Greeks have a special and passionate relationship with this part of their cultural heritage.
The 2,500-year-old marble sculptures were removed from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin in the early 1800s and he then sold the marbles to the British government, who passed them on to the British Museum in 1817 and they have remained on exhibit there since then.
“Yes, I understand that there is a desire to see all of the Parthenon Sculptures in Athens The other half of the Parthenon Sculptures are currently in the Acropolis Museum in Greece,” added Fischer.
Britain’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has supported Greece fight to gain the Marbles back and pledged to return them to Athens if he becomes Prime Minister.
When Fischer was asked about Corbyn’s promise, he responded, “I think that this is Mr Corbyn’s personal view on the question, that you take note of. Obviously, that is not the stance and the view of the Trustees of the Museum.”
Ta Nea also posed the question if he would accept that Greece is the legal owner of the Parthenon Sculptures, to which he replied, “No, I would not. The objects that are part of the collection of the British Museum are in the fiduciary ownership of the Trustees of the Museum."