Artefacts to go on display after being stolen from British Museum | UK News

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The British Museum is putting items that were stolen from it but have since been recovered on display to the public.

A Roman first century profile bust of Minerva, or Athena, in black glass with a white band, and a glass cameo with a bust of Cupid, or Eros, in three layers of brown on white on purple glass are among the list.

More than 500 items not caught up in the thefts will also feature in the collection, titled The Rediscovering Gems exhibition, which opens later this month.

The British Museum. File pic
Image:
The British Museum. File pic: PA

Hundreds of stolen objects have been returned since August, when the museum said items from its collection were either missing, stolen or damaged.

The museum later revealed the list numbered about 2,000 items.

Police and international experts in gems, collection history and art loss recovery, are working with the museum to locate and return the remaining missing items, with the help of members of the public.

In September, the museum launched a webpage which gave details of the losses and information about how to report them.

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An unnamed member of staff was sacked when the thefts were discovered, the museum said, as it revealed it was taking legal action.

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In the wake of the controversy, Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum director Sir Mark Jones was appointed as the museum’s interim director, following the resignation of Hartwig Fischer, a German art historian.

The items will be displayed in a gem cabinet reflective of the 18th century, when they were popular in the exhibition, which runs from 15 February to 15 June in room three at the museum.

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Chairman of the board of trustees at the British Museum, George Osborne, said: “We promised we’d show the world the gems that were stolen and recovered rather than hide them away.

“It’s another example of culture change under way at the British Museum, as we open up and take ownership of our own story.”

Tom Harrison, keeper of the British Museum’s department of Greece and Rome, said: “We are delighted to be able to put on this exhibition and showcase some of the stunning recovered gems which are now safely back in the museum’s collection.

“It’s also an interesting opportunity to cast some light on an underappreciated and very beautiful art form.

“A huge thanks goes out to all those who have lent support and helped us in the recovery programme.”

The ancient Mediterranean objects were used as seals, jewellery or collected and sought after by royalty, aristocrats, artists and antiquarians, according to the museum.

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