Prince Edun Akenzua calls upon British museum to return Benin Bronzes

Published by Alice Jaspars on March 23rd 2020, 12:12pm

Prince Edun Akenzua of the Royal Court of Benin has called upon a British museum to “blaze the trail” and return one of thousands of Benin Bronzes looted during the colonial era.

Currently exhibited at Bristol Museum, the piece was stolen from the royal palace of the Oba in 1897 following the British invasion of Benin City.

In an episode of BBC Inside Out West, broadcast on the BBC later today, Prince Edun said that the pieces “were not originally made as museum objects."

Indeed, the stolen plaques and sculptures formerly adorned the palace of the Oba of Benin and are now in museums across the world.

The Prince continued that Bristol Museum could set a trend by returning the piece.

He said that: "We are aware of the Benin Bronze at Bristol Museum.

"We are appealing to Bristol Museum to blaze the trail for the international community or private holders of the Benin cultural property to get them returned."

The head curator of Bristol Museum said that following the prince’s “impassioned plea” he is now open to returning the piece.

The cast in question has not received a formal valuation, however, an equivalent piece was recently sold at auction for over £1 million.

Head of culture at Bristol City Council, Joe Finch, said that the museum was unaware of the piece’s provenance when it was acquired.

He continued: "We're very happy to explore with the prince the opportunity of returning the object.

"We'd like to have correspondence with him to see what the specific request is and how we can progress that.

"I've seen the impassioned plea from the prince so we're very willing to explore that option with him and others."

Bristol Museum is currently engaged in a project called Uncomfortable Truths involving the creation of labels examining the histories behind the acquisition of specific objects.

Share this article


The Leaders Council

About The Leaders Council

The Leaders Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a network of the most influential figures from across the country. Through detailed case studies, news coverage, podcasts and leadership events, we strive to unearth the authentic voice of British industry. Find out more about our Membership Benefits.



Authored By

Alice Jaspars
Culture Editor
March 23rd 2020, 12:12pm

Follow Us

Follow @LeadersGBNI on Twitter for more live updates

Share this article


Special Reports

SPECIAL REPORT | Published March 4th 2022, 8:31 am

The Impact of the Health and Care Bill


Popular Stories

© Copyright 2022, Leaders Council.