Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Britain's Scattered Heritage": A Sense of Loss


The items discussed in the pages below have been selected for discussion because they illustrate the various means and processes by which various important pieces of the cultural property of the British Isles have been scattered over the past few centuries. They also give a view of the range of material that has been taken abroad, and demonstrate the colossal loss that the British people have experienced by their removal from the cultural resources of the nation over past centuries.

These (and other) items were lost through the operation of various processes beyond our control in the past. These were detrimental to the preservation of the resources of cultural property in Britain available for the enjoyment and edification of citizens and visitors. While it is true that those of them in foreign public collections can for the most part still be seen by getting on an aeroplane and travelling in their footsteps to various distant parts of our globe, this is not the point.

These items cannot be treated as something which can just be carted off and be as meaningful in a foreign gallery as in the surroundings for which they were created. They have a relationship with place, they belong here, where they have a myriad of local meanings. The repatriation of as many of these items as possible is not only desirable it is imperative if British culture is not to lose its roots.

Britain has already lost so much of its material heritage that this can be seen as nothing less than a cultural disaster. In the current era of international co-operation and collaboration, in a united Europe now that colonialism has been swept away, it is time to right the historical wrongs done to Britain in less enlightened times and find a way to resolve these issues peacefully, amicably and to the benefit of all sides.

This blog opposes the aggressive domination and false rhetoric of foreign culture-snatchers who have treated the cultural resources of our country as little more than a mine to exploit to produce trophy pieces which they have appropriated to their own uses. Please think about the issues these pieces raise.

1 comment:

  1. Any thoughts on the British Museum, the biggest monument to colonial plunder, cultural vandalism and outright theft in the entire world?