Memorandum submitted by Mr David Orchard
A Proposal in Relation to the Elgin Marbles
1. I am a retired civil servant. I worked
as a professional engineer in the Ministry of Works, the Ministry
of Public Building and Works, and the Property Services Agency.
My submission is made as an interested private person.
2. I regard the Elgin Marbles as items of
cultural property, historically belonging to the Greek nation,
and historically acquired by legitimate purchase from the Ottoman
Empire, and presented by the purchaser to the British Government
for display in the British Museum.
3. The display at the British Museum has
provided an outstanding example of Greek art in the Classical
period, and has informed and inspired generations of Britons.
4. Removal to London has ensured that the
Marbles have been preserved from further damage, loss and excessive
5. It seems to me that, were the ownership
settled by arbitration, the certain result would be a serious
worsening of British-Greek relations. Minds must be applied to
produce a solution which safeguards both countries' essential
6. Sculptures can be copied. I suggest that
two copies should be made of the Marbles, if possible by Greek
sculptors using marble from the original quarries (or a near equivalent).
The obvious physical damage and weathering would be neglected
in the copies.
7. The first copies would be for display
by the British Museum. The second copies would be for the Greek
Government (should they wish it) for mounting on the Parthenon
in the original positions.
8. The original Marbles would be released
to the Greek Government on the receipt of the first copy set,
on the understanding that they will be housed in specially built
accommodation in Athens in a controlled atmosphere to prevent
any further deterioration.
9. There should be an inter-governmental
agreement that no further copies should ever be made except to
replace those in the Parthenon.
10. The operation should be made a "World