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Parthenon Marbles: Fundraising initiative to repay the £35,000 used by UK Parliament to buy them from Elgin

The British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles and the Greek community are seeking to raise £35,000 to symbolically repay the UK Parliament. The amount is the one the UK Parliament paid to Lord Elgin to buy the Marbles.

Fundraising – Press Release

Over two hundred years ago Lord Elgin wrenched a number of exquisitely carved figures and friezes from the Parthenon, wreaking severe damage to the already damaged monument. He shipped this portion of the Parthenon Marbles to the UK aiming to use them to decorate his ancestral house in Scotland. However, he soon became bankrupt and was obliged to sell the Marbles to the British Parliament, who at the time paid £35,000 to save them, and place them in the care of the British Museum.

Since Greece’s declaration of independence in 1821 the Greek state has called for the return of the Parthenon Marbles, so they can be reunified with their other halves and experienced as one connected work of art. The case has been further strengthened since the opening of the modern Acropolis museum, built specially in viewing distance of the  building from which the Marbles were taken.

The Marbles have done their job here in the UK and now, for the very first time, the British Museum are engaged in talks with the Greek government about an agreement regarding their future. The Museum’s Chair George Osborne, is open to finding an agreement, but for this to happen we need the support of the present Secretary of State for Culture, Lucy Frazer MP KC.

Just as the Greek authorities have committed for the past 23 years to fill the British Museum with yet more marvellous Greek antiquities should the Marbles finally be reunified, so this initiative aims to show Ms Frazer that we value the role played by the British Parliament in preserving these peerless works of art.

Fundraising initiative to symbolically repay the £35,000 used by Parliament to buy the Parthenon Marbles from Lord Elgin in 1816

— British Committee (@BCRPM) March 27, 2023

That’s why the Greek community and the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles is seeking to raise this £35,000. We want the British government to support the British Museum to do the right thing. Symbolically repaying an old debt to the British Parliament is an important step to securing this support.

Once we’ve hit our target we will offer the sum, in cash and publicly, to the Secretary of State for Culture. Should the Secretary of State to refuse this generosity, the funds will be donated to the British Museum in the same spirit of goodwill. If by our deadline we have not reached our target, all donors will have the option of a full refund or to donate their pledge to the continuing campaign.

Details of the fundraising campaign here, and for the press release, follow the link here.

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