Friday, 17 October 2008

Nostoi in Athens, and where are our bronzes?

The Nostoi exhibition of some seventy important ancient artifacts which were returned to Italy and Greece in recent years is now in the new Acropolis museum in Athens, where it will be to the end of the year. Most of them come from the Getty, the Metropolitan, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Notably a significant percentage originally belonged to the Shelby White collection. What a shame that Britain as the result of a lawsuit merely managed to get a promise that the Icklingham Bronzes will return to England only when the collector dies. This was because once again the British police were unable to get the evidence together to prosecute the five metal detector users who it is alleged clandestinely dug them out of a field of Suffolk farmers John and Rosemary Browning during the winter of 1981-1982.

[The dealer was unavailable for comment when the NYT wanted to speak to him, but his lawyer said: "The gallery was a good-faith purchaser of the bronzes. We await their proof that the objects were stolen." Sound familiar?]

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