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Cambridge college considers repatriating its Benin Bronze

Plus: UK Culture Secretary will not intervene with Royal Photographic Society collection | Shots fired at Berlin LGBT museum | and three men jailed in connection with former art thief’s murder

9 March 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Jesus College will consider repatriating bronze cockerel to Nigeria | After a student led campaign to repatriate a bronze cockerel looted from what is now Nigeria in the 19th century, Jesus College Cambridge has agreed to remove the object from public display in its main hall. The cockerel, known as the Okukor, is one of the celebrated ‘Benin Bronzes’ that once decorated the royal palace in the west African kingdom of Benin, before being removed by the British in 1897. The college authorities have described the okukor’s immediate repatriation as ‘complex’, but have not ruled it out. It will, it says, work with Nigerian heritage bodies to ‘discuss and determine the best future for the okukor, including the question of repatriation.’

John Whittingdale will not intervene with Royal Photographic Society collection | Secretary of State for Culture John Whittingdale will not stand in the way of a decision to move some 270,000 images belonging to the Royal Photographic Society from Bradford’s National Media Museum to London’s V&A. Despite widespread opposition to the move, including from within his own party, Whittingdale told the Yorkshire Post that he was ‘reluctant to micro-manage’. In the same statement, Whittingdale angered Bradford South MP Judith Cummins, an opponent of the move, by referring to the NMM as a ‘satellite’: ‘This museum was set up as a national museum in its own right and I hope the minister has misunderstood when he called it a “satellite”, and that it’s not evidence they’ve already downgraded it to a satellite basis,’ she said yesterday.

Shots fired at Berlin LGBT museum | On Monday, bullet holes were found in the walls of the Schwules museum, a Berlin institution devoted to the history of LGBT communities. As yet, there is little information on the apparent attack, but police believe the marks were caused by ‘small bullets’ – possibly fired from an air gun. The investigation has been taken over by the police department for state security, as the possible homophobic motivation for the attack falls under the category of ‘political’ crime, according to ArtNet News.

Three men jailed in connection with former art thief’s murder | Three British men have been jailed in connection to the murder of Sebastiano Magnanini, an Italian who made headlines for stealing Tiepolo’s Education of the Virgin from a church in Venice. Magnanini’s corpse was discovered last year floating in a north London canal, having travelled to Britain with ambitions to become a journalist.

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