The Meidias Hydria Vase Landed to Greece by The British Museum

The Meidias Hydria Vase Comes to the Acropolis Museum in Athens As a Temporary Loan by the British Museum.

Nov 25, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
The Meidias Hydria
The British Museum. Via Wikipedia.


The Meidias Hydria vase comes to the Acropolis Museum in Athens. It will be part of the short-term display of art, loaned by The British Museum. The announcement occurred less than a week after George Osborne, the museum’s chairman, expressed optimism that a deal with Greece over the Parthenon Marbles might involve achievement. Overall, Lord Elgin removed the marbles in the early 19th century.


The Meidias Hydria Vase Part of a Win-Win Partnership

The Meidias Hydria Vase
George Osborne, Chair of The British Museum (left) and interim director Sir Mark Jones outside the British Museum, London. Photo: Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Image.


In the past, Osborne promoted “cultural exchange”. This means it would be in the shape of a permanent grant of these valuable items to Greece’s specialised Acropolis Museum. But, last week Osborne presented his concept of a win-win partnership. This deal means that the Parthenon marbles will be relocated to Athens, “other treasures from Greece, some that have never left those shores”, are loaned to the British Museum.


Greek officials did not agree to accept the marbles as a loan thus far. Greece rejects the United Kingdom’s claim to be the legitimate owner. Also, It’s right to lend the objects out. Osborne spoke at the annual trustee’s dinner on November 15, and also gave his opinion on this matter.


The Meidias Hydria Vase
The Meidias hydria: Athenian red-figure hydria (water jug). Copyright Trustees of the British Museum.


“As Trustees we look for a partnership with our Greek friends that requires no one to relinquish their claims, asks for no changes to laws which are not ours to write, but which finds a practical, pragmatic and rational way forward”, he said. He did concede, though, that there would always be those who are “against change and against development and partnership”.

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Conservative Views on Cultural Heritage

The British Museum, Surprising Results
The British Museum.


“There are people who, frankly, don’t think [the British Museum] should exist at all—and always have done”, he said. “We welcome the controversy”. A 1963 legislation now prevents the British Museum from deaccessioning its assets. Greece is unable to receive custody of the marbles from the museum. The current Conservative Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, barred out returning the statues, which he regards as a “huge asset” to the United Kingdom.


We call the artist who signed the Meidias Hydria, who lived around 420 C.E., the Meidias Painter. British envoy William Hamilton brought it to the United Kingdom in the 1760s after finding it during an excavation in Italy. It was never borrowed before, having been purchased by the British Museum in 1772.


satyrs drinking greek vase
A Red Figured Psykter, used as a wine cooler, ca. 490 BCE, made in Attika, Greece, via the British Museum.


The Meidias Hydria will be included in the “Meanings: Personifications and Allegories from Antiquity to Today” exhibition at the Acropolis Museum in Athens, on view from December 4 through April 14, 2024. It will then travel to Paris for the Louvre’s “Olympism: a Modern Invention, an Ancient Legacy”, which runs from April 24 until September 16.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.