The family of 19th-century British travel writer Richard Ford has returned a decorative object that went missing from the Spanish Alhambra fortress complex 187 years ago.
The beautiful wooden frieze was sent to the Patronage of the Alhambra and the Generalife located in the city of Granada in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia.
According to an official statement, two brothers who are descendants of 19th century travel writer Richard Ford, named Francis V. and Richard A. Ford, first contacted the patronage in September last year offering to return the piece.
After it was sent to Spain from the United Kingdom, experts in Granada were able to study and carbon date the frieze corroborating that it belongs to the Palacio Partal (Partal Palace), the oldest of the palaces that make up the Alhambra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Richard Ford acquired the wooden frieze, which is 2.25 metres (7 feet) long, when he stayed at the same palace during his travels in the country between 1830 and 1833.
However, the statement does not specify how Ford procured the decorative piece.
Experts said it belonged in the Torre de las Damas (The Ladies Tower) in the Partal Palace and that they thought it had been lost for 187 years.
Alhambra director Rocio Diaz said: “We are seeing a milestone in the history of the Alhambra which offers a reflection of its past and helps represent a new moment of the monument.”
Culture and Historical Heritage counsellor Patricia del Pozo also called it historically important as it is an original element that is being returned to the Alhambra.
Experts believe the Partal Palace was built during the time of the Sultan Muhammad III (1302-1309).
Richard Ford is mostly known for his book ‘A Handbook for Travellers in Spain’ which was first published in 1845 and was based on his travels during the early 1830s.
The literary work is still widely considered one of the greatest travel books ever written about the Iberian country.
Ford also gained recognition for his drawings and even did illustration work for several book