The Brutish Museums : the Benin Bronzes, colonial violence and cultural restitution / Dan Hicks.

  • Hicks, Dan, 1972-
  • Books

About this work

Also known as

Benin Bronzes, colonial violence and cultural restitution


"Walk into any European museum today and you will see the curated spoils of Empire. They sit behind plate glass: dignified, tastefully lit. Accompanying pieces of card offer a name, date and place of origin. They do not mention that the objects are all stolen. Few artefacts embody this history of rapacious and extractive colonialism better than the Benin Bronzes - a collection of thousands of metal plaques and sculptures depicting the history of the Royal Court of the Obas of Benin City, Nigeria. Pillaged during a British naval attack in 1897, the loot was passed on to Queen Victoria, the British Museum and countless private collections. The story of the Benin Bronzes sits at the heart of a heated debate about cultural restitution, repatriation and the decolonisation of museums. In The Brutish Museum, Dan Hicks makes a powerful case for the urgent return of such objects, as part of a wider project of addressing the outstanding debt of colonialism."--Publisher's description.


London : Pluto Press, 2020.

Physical description

xvii, 345 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (colour) ; 24 cm


The Gun That Shoots Twice -- A Theory of Taking -- Necrography -- White Projection -- World War Zero -- Corporate-Militarist Colonialism -- War on Terror -- The Benin-Niger-Soudan Expedition -- The Sacking of Benin City -- Democide -- Iconoclasm -- Looting -- Necrology -- 'The Museum of Weapons, etc.' -- Chronopolitics -- A Declaration of War -- A Negative Moment -- Ten Thousand Unfinished Events -- Afterword: A Decade of Returns.

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references and index.



Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    Open shelves

Permanent link



  • 0745341764
  • 9780745341767