These were part of the frieze and pediment of the Parthenon of Athens
and other carvings from c.
440 bc, sent to England
by the 7th earl of Elgin. While British ambassador in Constantinople, he obtained authority from the Turks
first to study, then to remove some of the antiquities, which were badly looked after. After an eventful journey during which some of the carvings were shipwrecked and the earl detained in France
, the sculptures arrived in England to controversy about the wisdom and validity of their purchase by the government. Finally in 1816 Elgin received £35,000, much less than his expenses, and the marbles were placed in the British Museum
. The Greek government has at times requested their return.
Elgin Marbles (ĕl´gĬn), ancient sculptures taken from Athens to England in 1806 by Thomas Bruce, 7th earl of Elgin; other fragments exist in several European museums. Consisting of much of the surviving frieze and other sculptures from the Parthenon, a caryatid, and a column from the Erechtheum, they were sold to the British government in 1816 and are now on view in the British Museum. Since then, the Greek government has sought the return of the marbles. Although British claims are based on Elgin's purchase of the sculptures, Greece has contested this, and its position has many supporters.
See T. Vrettos, The Elgin Affair (1997).
a collection of classical Greek marble sculptures and architectural fragments, chiefly from the frieze and pediment of the Parthenon
, brought to England
by the diplomat and art connoisseur Thomas Bruce (1766–1841), the 7th Earl of Elgin. Their original exhibition in London had an enormous impact, it being the first time authentic classical Greek sculpture had been on public display.
Group of sculptures from the Acropolis of Athens
, including sculptures of the Parthenon
. They were transported (1803–12) by the 7th Earl of Elgin (1766–1841), sold to the British Government in 1816, and are now on display in the British Museum
, London. The Greek government continues to campaign for their return.