2014 Archived News

The sculptures’ seizure remains a disgraceful chapter in our history.

16 December 2014

Letters page Evening Standard

Lord Elgin did not save the marbles

It is the height of disingenuousness for the British Museum’s Neil MacGregor to claim that Lord Elgin “rescued” the Parthenon sculptures for the sake of art (December 12). There is convincing evidence in Elgin’s correspondence that he sought to place them in his own home, only agreeing to their sale to the government as security on a bad debt.

Contrary to his claims, he had no authorisation to hack the sculptures from the Parthenon. Even contemporary British accounts criticised his actions as “the most flagrant acts of spoliation”. The sculptures’ seizure remains a disgraceful chapter in our history.
Peter Aspden