It Is Time For the Lewis Chessmen to Be Returned to Their Rightful Owners

As Antony Lerman gets into a tither over the publishing of an inventory and engages in a form of public therapy to blame Israel for a decision he agrees with, quarrels continue in Scotland about the ‘rightful’ home of the Lewis Chessmen; currently on partial loan to the Royal Museum in Edinburgh, from the British Museum in London.

Angus Neill, the SNP MP for Lewis is aghast at suggestions from the British Museum that the pieces were carved in Norway and not North-West Scotland, and has bloviated about the need for a Commons debate in order to transfer the full set to a Western Isles museum.

Setting aside for the moment the waning of Lewis’ presence on world trade routes in the 800 hundred years since the pieces were buried (as well as the question of whether they are chessmen), there is the question who owns Norse culture.

Even assuming the pieces were carved in or around Uig Bay, where they were discovered, this territory was part of the Norwegian Crown.  So, the answer is clear: the pieces should be returned to their rightful owners.



6 Responses to “It Is Time For the Lewis Chessmen to Be Returned to Their Rightful Owners”

  1. sackcloth and ashes Says:

    Alec – just seen your comment on the Cameron thread at HP. How can I help?

    • efrafandays Says:

      I recall your area is Cold War, but don’t doubt it extends a few decades back. I’ve a first edition copy of Eastman’s 1934 translation of The History of the Russian Revolution with what looks like Trotsky’s signature, and wonder if you could give ideas on interest. Some points:

      [*] No dust jacket;

      [*] The inner page has been removed (that high quality leaf of paper);

      [*] Trotsky’s signature is recorded as L Trotsky, but this is Leon Trotsky (everything else looks the same).

  2. sackcloth and ashes Says:

    That looks like a good find. Are you thinking of selling it, or do you want to donate it to an archive? If it’s the latter, SSEES might be interested.

    • efrafandays Says:

      Being the mercenary bugger that I am, selling would be the first option. The SSEES may be an idea for authentication, though, as Diego Rivera apparently would copy Trotsky’s signature when they knew each other.

      I once saw a first edition of the English translation of Mein Kampf. It wasn’t signed.

  3. sackcloth and ashes Says:

    ‘Being the mercenary bugger that I am, selling would be the first option.’

    You could always contact Cardinal Newman on ‘Socialist Disunity’ and see how much he’s prepared to cough up ;o)

    • efrafandays Says:

      He’ll have money, considering he works for a big company which equips the IDF.

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