Museums show limited interest in borrowing Parthenon Marbles

Posted On May 22, 2017

British Museum’s vision of the ancient sculptures travelling to China and Africa has so far come to nothing


“The British Museum has received only a single request to borrow one of the Parthenon Marbles since the sensational loan of a sculpture to Russia in December 2014. The pediment sculpture of the river god Ilissos (around 438-432BC) was lent for six weeks to the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, where it was seen by 136,000 visitors. It was the first time that any of the Parthenon Marbles had left the British Museum since arriving in London in 1807.

Neil MacGregor, who masterminded the Russian loan when director of the British Museum, had suggested a few years earlier that the Marbles might eventually be lent to venues in China and Africa. Asked in a debate in 2009 about returning the Parthenon sculptures to Greece, MacGregor responded: “The real question is about how the Greek and British governments can work together so that the sculptures can be seen in China and Africa.”


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