Lewis Chessmen return to Western Isles
Welcoming the announcement that some of the Lewis Chessmen will be permanently displayed in Stornoway from 2014, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:
“I am delighted that six of the Lewis Chessmen will be making a return, a Homecoming, to the Isle of Lewis where they were first discovered. It is particularly appropriate that this is happening in 2014 – our second Year of Homecoming.
“The Chessmen are a significant part of our culture and an important symbol of European civilisation.
“I welcome this agreement between the British Museum and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar for the return of six of the pieces to the new museum at Lews Castle in Stornoway.
“With the 2010 tour of these artefacts inspiring 70,000 people to visit or revisit the Western Isles, this is sure to be a major attraction for tourists both locally and internationally, bringing economic benefits as well as preserving our heritage.”
Since 1995 there has been an agreement between the British Museum and Museum nan Eilean to loan the chessmen periodically. In 2000 13 chessmen were loaned from the British Museum (BM) to Stornoway.
The Scottish Government contributed £75,000 to the 2010 tour of the Lewis Chessmen, which was created in partnership with the BM and National Museums Scotland (NMS). Twenty-four chessmen were loaned from the BM and displayed alongside 6 pieces from the NMS collection. Taking in Stornoway, Shetland, Aberdeen and Edinburgh, the exhibition was visited by more than 122,000 visitors.
NMS and the BM are supporting Museum nan Eilean in the Lews Castle development.