British Museum Press Release: Restitution claim considered by the British Museum

London 1 October 2002: The British Museum has considered the claim made to the Trustees by the Commission for Looted Art in Europe in respect of four Old Master drawings wrongfully seized by the Gestapo from a private collection on 15 March 1939. The drawings are:

(a) Niccolò dell'Abbate; The Holy Family; BM reg. no: 1946-11-16-1
(b) Nicholas Blakey; An Allegory on Poetic Inspiration with Mercury and Apollo; BM reg. no: 1946-11-16-2
(c) Martin Johann Schmidt; Virgin and infant Christ, adored by St Elizabeth and the infant St John; BM reg. no: 1946-11-16-3
(d) Follower of Martin Schongauer; St Dorothy with the Christ Child; BM reg. no: 1949-4-11-98

The Trustees recognize the merits of the detailed and compelling claim and have therefore authorised the Director to work jointly with the Commission to find the speediest possible resolution, including the possibility of referral to the Spoliation Advisory Panel established by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

In acknowledging the claim, the Trustees note that the atrocities committed during the era 1933-45 represent a distinct and especially brutal period of modern history, and express their sympathy with the claims of victims of the Nazi regime.

In evidence to the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport on 8 June 2000, the Museum placed on record its agreement with the Chairman of the Committee that, if it were established that the Museum was holding objects looted by the Nazis during the Holocaust, the Museum would wish to find a way to achieve a return of those objects to the victim's family.

For further information contact

1. Dr Carol Homden, The British Museum 020 7323 8789 or 0794 1177376

2. Anne Webber, Commission for Looted Art in Europe, 020 7487 3401

The Holy Family by Niccolò dell'Abbate
St Dorothy with the Christ Child by a follower of Martin Schongauer An Allegory on Poetic Inspiration with Mercury and Apollo by Nicholas Blakey

Virgin and Child adored by St Elizabeth and the infant St John by Martin Johann Schmidt

Issue date: 1st October 2002

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