“Benin Bronzes” due to be repatriated by the Church of England were made in the 1980’s, officials have stated.
Sculptures and plaques made for royalty in the former Kingdom of Benin and largely seized by British forces in 1897 have been the subject of renewed calls for repatriation to Nigeria following Black Lives Matter protests.
The Church of England owns two statues which were gifted to Archbishop Robert Runcie by politician Prof Ambrose F. Alli and the University of Nigeria during an Easter visit to the country in 1982.
Following a wave of repatriation pledges from UK museums, Lambeth Palace earlier this month promised to “return the bronzes” in its possession.
But the sculptures earmarked for repatriation were likely made in the 1980’s and had no connection to colonial activity.
Lambeth Palace clarified: “The sculptures that we received as gifts in the 1980’s are likely to be contemporary from that time.”