UK Culture Secretary: Greece Must Recognise UK’s Ownership of Elgin Marbles Before Loan

marbles feature

UK Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer has emphasised the need for Greece to acknowledge the United Kingdom's ownership of the Elgin Marbles before any consideration of a loan agreement.

Frazer scaled

These ancient sculptures, once part of the majestic Parthenon temple on the Acropolis, have resided in the British Museum for over two centuries. The controversy dates back to the early 19th century when Lord Elgin, serving as the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, removed them from Greece.

Despite Greece's persistent appeals for the marbles' return, the UK maintains legal ownership, citing their acquisition by Lord Elgin. The Greek government argues that the marbles were wrongfully acquired during a period of foreign occupation, a claim vehemently rejected by the UK. This disagreement has fuelled decades of diplomatic tension and calls for repatriation.

In recent developments, George Osborne, chairman of the British Museum trustees and former Chancellor, has reportedly engaged in discussions with Greece about a potential arrangement to share the artefacts. However, Frazer's statement underscores a fundamental precondition: Greece must formally recognise the UK's ownership of the marbles before any loan negotiations can proceed.

Meanwhile, amidst this cultural dispute, allegations have surfaced regarding government interference in artistic expression. Arts Council England (ACE) faced criticism after advising artists to avoid making political statements, sparking concerns about censorship. However, Frazer refuted these claims, asserting that the government did not influence ACE's guidance. She clarified that discussions between officials and the Arts Council primarily revolved around risk assessment and safeguarding artistic freedom.

(Source: Daily Mail UK)

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