The statements made by the director of the British Museum, Hartwig Fischer, who ruled out returning the Parthenon Sculptures (Elgin Marbles) to Greece in an interview to newspaper Ta Nea, has sparked criticism both in Greece and the UK.
“Statements to the effect that ‘we won’t loan if you don’t recognise we are the owners’ are deeply undemocratic”, said Marlene Golwein, the Press Officer for the Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles.
The chief of the arts and culture section in Sunday Times wrote in an op-ed piece in response to the statements by Mr Fischer that “Who is the owner of the marbles is indisputable” they belong to the country of their origin, Greece”
The 2,500-year-old marble sculptures were removed from the Parthenon Temple on the Acropolis in Athens by the Ottoman ambassador Lord Elgin in the early 1800s.
Lord Elgin sold the marbles to the British government, who passed them on to the British Museum in 1817 where they remain one of its most prized exhibits.