Arts & Culture
The Horniman Museum and Gardens returns ownership of its Benin bronzes to Nigeria
- 8:30 pm
28 November 2022
Horniman Museum & Gardens | Free
100 London Road, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ
*** THIS IS A PRIVATE EVENT – NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC ***
Ownership of 72 objects, which were forcibly removed from Benin City during the British military incursion in February 1897, will be transferred to the Nigerian government, following a decision by the Horniman’s Board of Trustees.
The collection includes 12 brass plaques, known publicly as Benin bronzes. Other objects include a brass cockerel altar piece, ivory and brass ceremonial objects, brass bells, everyday items such as fans and baskets, and a key ‘to the king’s palace’.
The Horniman received the request from the NCMM in January 2022 and has since undertaken detailed research of its objects from Benin to establish which are in the scope of the request. The Horniman has also consulted with community members, visitors, schoolchildren, academics, heritage professionals and artists based in Nigeria and the UK. All their views on the future of the Benin objects were considered, alongside the provenance of the objects.
“The evidence is very clear that these objects were acquired through force, and external consultation supported our view that it is both moral and appropriate to return their ownership to Nigeria. The Horniman is pleased to be able to take this step and we look forward to working with the NCMM to secure longer term care for these precious artefacts“ Eve Salomon, Chair of the Trustees of the Horniman Museum and Gardens
The Charity Commission, as the regulator of the charitable sector, endorsed the decision of the Horniman trustees on 5 August.
All images: Horniman Museum & Gardens