Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Icklingham bronzes: looking back

I am reviewing the history of the Icklingham bronzes case. In 1991 the New York Times reported on the case raised by John Browning, the land owner (William H. Honan, "Peripatetic Roman Bronzes Trailed by Lawsuit", May 14, 1991). Browning claimed that 16 bronzes had been removed from his land in the winter of 1981-82, and that these bronzes were the ones being offered by Ariadne Galleries Inc.
Frances Dunkels, a spokesman for the British Museum, said in a telephone interview last week that in 1982 Dr. Ian Longworth, the keeper of Roman-British antiquities at the British Museum, was shown photographs of 16 bronzes said to be in the hands of a British dealer who indicated that they had come from the Brownings' farm. In 1988, Miss Dunkels said, Dr. Longworth said Ariadne Galleries had those bronzes.
One item to note is that Marion True would not touch the bronzes because she considered them to have been "stolen". Yet Shelby White seems to have been happy to acquire them no doubt to display alongside some of the objects now returned to Greece, Italy and Turkey.

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