British Museum - Elgin Marbles, The Feast
The Parthenon Sculptures were created for the metopes high above the ground, to decorate the temple to Athena in Athens. The work was completed around 440 BC. The sculptures represented a procession, scenes from the then current mythology, and a feast.
Seeing how the Parthenon suffered damage over the centuries, Lord Elgin undertook the task of rescuing the remaining decorative carving at his own expense. In 1801 he removed as much as he could and by 1812 had removed around half of the original carvings. Some had been ground down and smashed for earlier building materials, and others suffered irreparable weather damage.
Elgin was almost bankrupt when the stones arrived in England, but the British government stepped in to purchase them from him, then presented them to the British Museum.
Even in those days there was controversy about removing the sculptures from Greece. The British not only said then but also still maintain that the works would suffer damage if returned to Athens. The Greeks say that their conservators are the best in the world. They also claim that the 19th century British restorers actually degraded the stones.
The debate will rumble on, with politicians posturing as it suits their cause. Meanwhile, we are able to enjoy the marbles, now at eye level.
bronze with silver plaque and gold jewelry
Around 600 BC
Possibly from Saqqara
Lindisfarne Priory, Holy Island, Northumberland, England, UK.
This remote island, cut off from the mainland twice a day by the tide, was chosen by the Irish Christian Aidan as a base to convert the Anglo Saxons in AD 635. The monks built a wooden church and monastery and from 675 Bishop Cuthbert joined them. It was during this period that the highly decorated Lindisfarne Gospels were produced, now to be seen in The British Library in London.
Although the island was hard to reach, and the monastery was defended on the land, it was no problem for the seagoing Norsemen to raid and plunder. In 793 the Vikings arrived, probably from a stronghold further along the coast, and they stole the valuable art and treasures. The repeated raids became such a problem that the monks abandoned the island in 875, taking their remaining belongings and Cuthbert’s body to County Durham.
The monks returned in the 12th century when the present buildings were started. The church was a scaled down version of Durham Cathedral. The small religious community survived several war periods during the 14th century until 1537 when, under King Henry VIII’s proclamation, all monasteries were dissolved with the wealth going to the crown and the king’s friends.
Local people and landowners demolished the monastery buildings to use the stone; much of which can be seen in the nearby castle, completed in 1550. The church was left complete until the lead roof was removed in 1613 after which the fabric of the building rapidly decayed. The tower collapsed in the 18th century leaving one of the two ribs for the vaulting open to the sky. This is now the priory’s most dramatic and recognisable feature.
Taken on 18th June, 2013 at 1457hrs with an Olympus OM-2sp through a Zuiko Auto-W 28mm /2.8 wide angle lens on 35mm Kodak Ektar 100 ASA colour negative film, developed in Fuji-Hunt X-Press C-41 chemicals..
©2013 Tim Pickford-Jones
Windows in the ruins of Tintern Abbey in Wales