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Elgin's Marbles - Essay Example

Lord Elgin had risen through the ranks and asked for the post as Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in Constantinople. He met and married a Scottish heiress, Mary Nisbet of Earlton. Lord Elgin felt that he knew the best place to achieve architectural significance and wanted to bring some of the passion and style back to the British artists and architects, in order to uplift and inspire them. Lady Elgin and her wealth allowed him to achieve his desire. Greek architecture at that time was considered the ultimate experience and being of great significance and Lord Elgin ensured he was part of the society. He employed artists and architects to paint, sketch and make molds of what he considered to be the best artwork in Athens, Greece. He believed that the artistic work held the highest significance and expression of civilization and that this cultural experience would encourage the British artists of the day.
Lord Elgin purchased sections of the marble frieze from the Ottoman Empire for a price of £75,000. He then had the difficult task of getting a ship to transport them to England. This was during the Napoleonic wars and their friend Nelson was reluctant to provide a vessel for the shipment. Mary used her guile and persuasion to eventually gain a passage for the artifacts (Nagel, from front matter). Lord Elgin considered his purchases to be a great achievement for the British Empire. A Government Select Committee agreed to purchase the marbles from Lord Elgin for £36,000 in 1816, a massive financial loss for Lord Elgin....
He then had the difficult task of getting a ship to transport them to England. This was during the

Napoleonic wars and their friend Nelson was reluctant to provide a vessel for the shipment. Mary used

her guile and persuasion to eventually gain a passage for the artefacts (Nagel, from front matter). Lord

Elgin considered his purchases to be a great achievement for the British Empire. A Government Select

Committee agreed to purchase the marbles from Lord Elgin for 36,000 in 1816, a massive financial

loss for Lord Elgin (British Museum, newsroom, 1). They were then placed and still remain in the

British Museum and given the collectors name of Elgin's Marbles (British Museum, Collection 2).



Picture 4.0 A Section of the Elgin Marbles

The British Museum initially placed the artefacts in a prefabricated gallery which had been designed by

Robert Smirke (British Museum, Collection 2). Then they were transferred to another section aptly

named the 'Elgin Room' in 1832 (British Museum, Collection 2) until Lord Duveen donated money to

the museum to construct a purpose built gallery for the marbles. (British Museum, Collection 2).



Picture 5.0 A Section of the Elgin Marbles

Preparations were carried out to clean the sculptures ready for display in their new Duveen rooms.

Wire wool was used to clean off the surfaces of all of the marbles in 1939. This cleaning method also

included the use of copper chisels and carborundum (British museum collection, 3). It was believed

that the original color of the marble was pure white and the intensions were genuinely administered in

order to return the pieces back to their original state. This cleaning method removed the entire ...Show more
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Summary

This essay is focused on the concept of "Elgin’s Marbles". According to the text, the Elgin Marbles are sections of a frieze purchased by the 7th Earl of Elgin, Thomas Bruce, from the Ottoman Empire. These marbles once surrounded the statue of Athena at the Parthenon in Athens.
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