Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Britain's Scattered Heritage"


A contribution to the debate on the repatriation of foreign cultural property held in the museums and academic institutions of several rich developed countries which the inhabitants of source countries now want back.

The premise of this blog is a hypothesis on how this debate would look if Britain was the victim rather than the holder of such lost cultural property. How would the arguments about "universal museums" and "cultural cosmopolitanism" look if British history had not taken the turns it had? Losing a few battles, making a few bad economic decisions, having a few more idiotic leaders could easily have led to Britain (after all a titchy island on the edge of Europe) losing far more of the physical remains of its cultural heritage than it turned out (quite by accident) it did.

This blog attempts to examine how attitudes would differ if it was Britain which had lost quite a number of near-iconic items of cultural significance. While the objects discussed are all (for the most part) real, the history of how they got where they "now" are is fictional, but I hope not too far-feteched. [Any resemblance in these fictionalised stories to people now living, or modern institutions is fairly unintentional and no offence is meant in this tongue-in-cheek thought experiment.]

Vignette: the British Isles

No comments:

Post a Comment