As Greece prepares a formal request to borrow the British Museum’s sculptures removed more than 200 years ago from the ancient Parthenon temple on Athens’ Acropolis, the British Museum has announced this would only be considered if Greece acknowledges British ownership of the sculptures.
Culture Minister Lina Mendoni says her ministry is drafting a proposal for the loan, which would coincide with the 2021 bicentennial of the revolution that led to the formation of the modern Greek state.
The Minister told Greek media on Tuesday that Greece could lend the London museum Greek antiquities.
“A pre-condition for any loan is the acceptance of the lending institution’s ownership,” a British Museum spokesperson told The Telegraph.
“We feel we have legal title to the sculptures that are in the British Museum collection.
“No museum or gallery in the world would loan objects unless the other institution that was borrowing them accepted ownership. There are conditions. They are not specific to the Marbles – they are a basic condition of all loans, not just for us but for all museums.”
Greece’s culture minister also added that any loan request should have no bearing on Athens’ insistence that the sculptures were stolen by Lord Elgin.
“The Greek position has not changed in any way, simply because we cannot accept the theft,” said Lina Mendoni.
“A loan, the Prime Minister’s proposal to exhibit the sculptures in Athens, is unrelated and does not change our long-standing demand. Rights could not arise from theft.”
*Sources: AP and The Telegraph