Parthenon marbles 'reunited' in exhibition

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The Independent Online

The marble sculptures removed from Greece by Lord Elgin 200 years ago were "reunited" with the sculptures he left behind in Athens in a virtual exhibition yesterday.

The display was organised by British campaigners who believe that the Elgin marbles, at the British Museum in London, should be returned to Greece. Freddie New, of the British Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles campaign group, said: "There has been a misconception in Britain that the entirety of the collection is in the British Museum. This [exhibition] shows that is not the case and that, furthermore, the divide is significant."

The reconstruction, called Marbles Reunited, shows the marbles in London in colour while those in Athens, where they adorned the temple of Athena 2,500 years ago, are in white. In one case, the back and shoulders of Poseidon are seen in the UK while the rest of the torso is in Athens. In another sculpture, a foot is in London while the rest of the figure is in Greece. The exhibition runs at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London until Thursday, and will then travel to Oxford and Cambridge.

Richard Allan MP, chairman of Parthenon 2004, which is using the 2004 Olympics in Greece to raise the issue in Parliament, said that he believed the question of ownership was secondary. The issue was where the sculptures would be best displayed, he said. The building of a dedicated museum in Athens meant that the marbles should be in Greece with the Parthenon in the background, he said.

Mr Allan said that the British Museum, and the Government, were still opposed to the return of the Marbles. But he said that he believed there was a "thawing" in hostilities. The Greeks have suggested that the British Museum has an outpost at the Athens museum.