WWW.1879ZULUWAR.COM

Film Zulu Dawn:Lt. Col. Pulleine: His Lordship is of the cetain opinion that it's far too difficult an approach to be chosen by the Zulu command.Col. Durnford: Yes, well... difficulty never deterred a Zulu commander.
 
HomeHome  CalendarCalendar  GalleryGallery  PublicationsPublications  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  RegisterRegister  Log inLog in  
Latest topics
Colonel R.T. Glyn, 1/24th Regt. kwaSokhexe, Ulundi
[Mac and Shad](Isandula Collection)
Secrets Of The Dead The Mystery Of Zulu Dawn
Search
 
 

Display results as :
 
Rechercher Advanced Search
Top posters
90th
 
littlehand
 
Frank Allewell
 
ADMIN
 
Chelmsfordthescapegoat
 
John
 
Mr M. Cooper
 
1879graves
 
impi
 
rusteze
 
Fair Use Notice
Fair use notice. This website may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorised by the copyright owner. We are making such material and images are available in our efforts to advance the understanding of the “Anglo Zulu War of 1879. For educational & recreational purposes. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material, as provided for in UK copyright law. The information is purely for educational and research purposes only. No profit is made from any part of this website. If you hold the copyright on any material on the site, or material refers to you, and you would like it to be removed, please let us know and we will work with you to reach a resolution.
Top posting users this month
Drummer Boy 14
 
Frank Allewell
 
90th
 
rusteze
 
ADMIN
 
Julian Whybra
 
SRB1965
 
ymob
 
1879graves
 
xhosa2000
 
Most active topics
Isandlwana, Last Stands
Pte David Jenkins. 'Forgotten' Survivor of Rorke's Drift Returned to Official Records
Durnford was he capable.5
Durnford was he capable.1
Durnford was he capable. 3
Durnford was he capable.2
Durnford was he capable. 4
The ammunition question
Pte David Jenkins. 'Forgotten' Survivor of Rorke's Drift Returned to Official Records
The missing five hours.

Share | 
 

 The Collector’s Art: Ancient Egypt at Eton College

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
littlehand

avatar

Posts : 7050
Join date : 2009-04-24
Age : 49
Location : Down South.

PostSubject: The Collector’s Art: Ancient Egypt at Eton College    Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:19 pm


Eton College, despite its name, is not an English university but a school—for boys, aged between 13 and 18 years. Founded by Royal Charter of king Henry VI on 11 October 1440, its more formal name is “The king’s college of our lady of Eton, beside Windsor”. Windsor is a small town lying some 20 miles to the west of London, home to the royal residence of Windsor Castle. As schools go, Eton has always been special. During the five and a half centuries of its existence, it has educated future prime ministers, politicians, soldiers and men of fame in all fields. Few, it seems, forget the place, and over the years a good many Old Etonians have shown their gratitude to the school in countless gifts and bequests. These have made the College rich, not only in financial terms but artistically also. Today, Eton boasts an enviable antiquarian library, the inevitable assemblage of antique silver, and extensive collections of watercolour landscapes, and portraits of the great and good who have passed through its gates.

Less predictably, perhaps, displayed in a small gallery once the school’s alehouse, Eton is home to some of the finest examples of ancient Egyptian decorative arts anywhere in the world—the last of the great 19th century collections which, like the rest of the school’s cultural assets, was acquired through the generosity of a former pupil.

The pupil’s name was William Joseph Myers. Born in London on 4 August 1858, Myers arrived at Eton at the tender age of 13 years in 1871 and, though no academic high-flyer, he flourished. In 1875 he would go on to Sandhurst—the British military academy—from which he passed out in 1879, to be commissioned as an officer in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. This regiment would be Myers’s home for the next 16 years; and home for the regiment would, for a time, be Egypt.

Myers disembarked onto the quay of Alexandria harbour on 3 November 1882. Aged 24, in his third year of military service, the young officer had already seen action in the Zulu War, and was now promoted as aide-de-camp to Sir Frederick Stephenson, the newly appointed general-commanding in Cairo. He was arriving in interesting times. Through economic mismanagement, the Turkish-ruled government of Egypt was bankrupt; this in turn had led to local unrest, which now threatened western interests in the Suez Canal—Britain’s route to India. The great powers were forced to act. Five months after the Franco-British bombardment of Alexandria in June, Myers was among the first British troops sent to occupy the country.

Egypt, and her often chaotic culture, were things of which Myers had had no experience whatsoever. He confided to his diary his first, unfavourable impressions: assailed by crowds of jabbering locals, and finding Alexandria itself in ruins, “guns knocked all over the place …, immense pieces of our shells, many unburst ...”. Worse still, the country was in the grip of a raging cholera epidemic—with Myers recording in disgust the sight of a man thrown into a wagon “covered in quicklime but still kicking”.

As welcomes go, it might have been better. But, settled in, it becomes clear from his diaries what an enviable posting Cairo at the end of the 19th century in fact was—the magic of the Thousand and One Nights combined with a seemingly endless round of society parties, quail shoots and cricket. And Myers’s duties? The most martial aspect of Myers’s life seems to have been the leisurely inspection of the odd battlefield. A greater priority was clearly shopping, since collecting was a long-standing passion; though it’s a curious fact that antiquities seem, initially, to have exerted on Myers rather less appeal than mosque lamps and rugs.

In fact, it would be three years before he encountered ancient Egypt; as things turned out, Myers would not travel much beyond Cairo until February 1885. Taking the train south, passing through flourishing new sugar plantations, Myers was to join one of the Khedive’s boats at Asyut for a memorable river trip organized personally by the Victorian travel entrepreneur Thomas Cook. Plunging head first into half-open tombs and wandering open-mouthed around ruined temples, Myers was utterly captivated. One place in particular held him: Philae. It was, he wrote “more striking than any other place in Egypt”.

Sadly, the trip was to be cut short soon after. News that Khartoum had fallen to the Mahdi, that General Gordon lay dead in the ruins, and that Egypt itself was now threatened, necessitated Myers’s return to Cairo.

Cairo’s Islamic architecture and collectibles drew him still. But the seed of a new, all-consuming passion had now been sown—a passion which would be tended in the years ahead by one of Egyptology’s more intriguing characters. Just prior to his first trip up the Nile, Myers had been introduced to Emile Brugsch, assistant curator in the Bulaq Museum, a German by birth and one of those rare academics equally at home in Cairo’s dubious nightlife as seated behind the scholar’s desk. Rapidly establishing himself as a friend, Brugsch gave freely of his time and expertise to advise Myers what to buy and where to get it. Brugsch naturally knew all the best sources of supply and—one guesses since his Museum was desperately under-funded at this time—was able to put Myers’s way a number of items which would ordinarily have remained in the national collection. Thanks to Brugsch’s encouragement, the collecting of Egyptian art became the be all and end all of Myers’s existence; and it was not long before he had built up one of the finest collections of his day. Formal recognition of this would come in 1895, when the collector was invited to participate in the Burlington Fine Arts Club’s now legendary London exhibition of Egyptian decorative arts.

Myers’s tour of duty in Egypt came to an end all too soon, in December 1887, and he spent the next 7 years travelling through India, Tibet, Burma, Russia, Central Asia and South America. On four occasions during this time he returned to Egypt to site-see and collect, lamenting in his diaries how the country—Philae, in particular—had changed as a result of Mr Cook’s opening up of the country to the tourist hordes. But by 1898 Myers’s wanderlust seems to have evaporated. England beckoned, and Major Myers took up the offer to return to his beloved school—as adjutant to the local militia unit, the Eton Volunteers. For a time, he had everything he could wish for: an opportunity to play soldier among friends and in familiar surroundings, and on Sunday afternoons to show off his collection of Egyptian and other treasures to an enthusiastic audience of boys.

But the attractions of sleepy Eton were soon to wear thin; within a year Myers had decided to return to active duty, travelling to Africa as a good patriot to fight in the Boer War. And it was in Africa, at the battle of Farquhar’s Farm, Ladysmith, that Myers was killed, by a Boer sniper’s bullet, on 30 October 1899. He was only 41 years of age. It was a tragic and unexpected end to what had been a charmed life, and Eton was left in a state of profound shock to have lost one so close.

A more pleasant surprise was in store. For, with the reading of Myers’s will, Eton found itself the surprised beneficiary to the Egyptian collection displayed in his Eton home; as he wrote, “the happiest days of my life were spent [at the school], and I owe it a lasting debt”. And, doubtless because they were soon forgotten, Myers’s antiquities have remained at Eton ever since, preserved in the quirky little museum today named after its benefactor.

For almost a century, the superb quality of Eton’s Egyptian collection has been the stuff of rumour and speculation, based for the most part on the murky black and white photographs of the 1895 Burlington exhibition. Now we can take a closer look.

The range of the collection at Eton is wide, covering most aspects of Egyptian material culture, from the flints, palettes and pottery of the predynastic period and before to the faience vessels, bronzes and mummy portraits of the Roman period and beyond. Like all collections, it was shaped wholly by availability; and, by the happiest of chances, Myers’s was in Egypt at a time when antiquities could be legally acquired and a wide variety of high quality objects—as we shall see—was there to be had.

Supplemented by the odd gift in the years since 1899, Eton’s collection now numbers just over 2000 individual pieces, and of these pieces—here we see a detail of a 21st Dynasty coffin, and one of Myers’s Roman period plaster mummy heads—a far greater proportion than usual is of high artistic interest. It is interesting to speculate why this should be the case. Myers was no academic, attracted for archaeology’s sake to mummies and the paraphernalia of the dead; unless it was possessed of some special quality, he would pass-by the run-of-the-mill, acquiring only what he considered aesthetically pleasing or intrinsically rare and desirable. Even the humble (and not so humble) scarabs in Myers’s collection are of supreme quality, with only the best acquired and the rest ignored. And it’s this selectivity—the individualistic stamp of Myers’s exceptionally refined taste—which today makes Eton’s collection unique.

In keeping with the collector’s refined taste, most of the objects in his original collection are small. Stone statuary is virtually non-existent—the most impressive of the two sculptures is this red granite base of a colossal statue, I’d guess of the 18th Dynasty, which was later usurped by Ramesses II. Precisely where the piece came from, how Myers acquired it, and why, are questions still to be answered.

Wood is somewhat better represented. Among the collection’s larger pieces are two exceptional wooden statues. The first is this gessoed wooden figure of a servant girl, wide-eyed and generously proportioned. Carrying a duck in one hand, she balances a box of provisions on her head and drives a white calf before. The paint of the figure is spectacularly well-preserved, a good indicator of the piece’s funerary origin. In fact the tomb from which it came is one Egyptologists know moderately well.


A single column of hieroglyphs on the lid of the box reveals the owner’s name: “The seal bearer of the king of lower Egypt, the sole companion, overseer of priests, and revered one, Hapikem”. Hapikem was a powerful local prince who lived at the end of the Old Kingdom, and had been buried in tomb A4 at Meir around 2150 BC. Until the 1890s, and the digging activities of the local Egyptians, parts of the burial had evidently survived undisturbed.

Myers’s records in his diary how and when he acquired the figure: from Emile Brugsch, on 3 March 1894—which is the same year the museum in Copenhagen acquired another, closely related statue from the same group. Both, doubtless, were cast offs from the museum at Boulaq; perhaps the money Myers paid for the piece went towards meeting the salaries of Brugsch and his staff.

Here we have a another wooden statue, of slightly later date and this time with its gessoed and painted surface almost entirely gone. Its function—for all Egyptian sculpture was essentially magical—had been to accommodate the ka or spiritual double of the deceased should his mummified body be destroyed. Acquired the year before Myers’s servant girl, in 1893, it too has an interesting provenance. According to the Burlington Fine Arts Club catalogue of 1895, it was found in the early Middle Kingdom cemetery at Asyut, more specifically in the tomb of the district governor Mesehty, a local prince who died around 2000 BC. Mesehty’s is a burial best known for two extraordinary tableaux of Egyptian and Nubian soldiers, now among the treasures of the Cairo Museum; it seems the tomb had been stumbled upon, again by locals, and the contents widely dispersed.

Another piece from Mesehty’s tomb is also at Eton—his heavy wooden walking staff, the top still carrying the polish of the ancient owner’s hand. Collected by Myers’s contemporary, the Revd William MacGregor, it came to the school as a gift from the Egyptologist Percy Newberry, a good friend to Eton who prepared the first formal display of the collection in the 1930s.

Although William Joseph Myers collected many beautiful objects, this, without any doubt, is my personal favourite—a double sided mask of the goddess Hathor, superbly carved in one of Egypt’s most familiar stones—steatite. In the best steatite sculptures, though, as here, the commonplace was transformed into the exquisite by the application of a translucent blue or green glaze which allowed the natural grain of the stone to show through. The piece is but a fragment; it originally formed part of a larger, composite whole, a sistrum or ritualistic shaker employed to mark rhythm in temple ceremonies. When complete, a cylindrical handle was fitted below, and a metal loop with shakers attached on the top. The name of the instrument—seshseshet—comes from the sound it makes, reminiscent, it was said, of the rustling of the cow goddess as she pushed her way through the reeds of the marshes. With its copper-rimmed, inlaid eyes, this particular sistrum was clearly a high-status piece, and not impossibly a personal dedication by the 12th Dynasty Senwosret I—the king whose cartouche appears on each side. Where does it come from? Well, Myers’s records—which are woefully incomplete—state merely “Thebes, 1887”. More specifically, we may guess, the findspot was Deir el-Bahri, the goddess Hathor’s Theban cult centre.

Ancient Egyptian jewellery in one or other of the precious metals then available —gold, silver, or electrum—, though not uncommon in antiquity, is rare today, thanks primarily to the activities of ancient tomb robbers who simply melted down what they found. With the growth of a market for such items in the 19th century, that thankfully changed. Beads, such as this 18th Dynasty string, were collected up not for scrap but to be sold on as curios—though the details of context and arrangement which formal excavation would have provided tended to be lost.

The beads seen in this slide doubtless came from the tomb of a high-ranking official—perhaps located at Saqqara in the north, since a string of identical gold palmettes has been found by Alain Zivie in the tomb of Aperel.

The exquisite, openwork pectoral ornament shown here is almost certainly royal. Not surprisingly, since it dates from the best period of royal jewellery-making, the composition and quality of workmanship are superb. If you look a little more closely, though, you will see that the object is in fact in two pieces: when dug up by locals sometime before 1895, it was “divided”—literally, by snapping it in half—between two of the finders. As this second shot shows, the piece sadly lost most of its inlays in the process. The larger of the two fragments, with a seated, falcon-headed Horus creature, was in due course acquired by Myers, the smaller, with its rare image of the god Seth, by the English collector William MacGregor—whom we’ve already met in connection with Mesehty’s stick. Twenty years after Myers’s death, the two fragments were temporarily rejoined on the occasion of the second Burlington Fine Arts Club exhibition in 1921.

With the sale of MacGregor’s antiquities to the London dealers Spink and Son, however, that seemed to be that; Spink planned to sell the collection, with the Seth fragment, through Sotheby’s in London, which would have been an end to the reunion. It was duly catalogued and illustrated in the catalogue and then—at the last minute—Spink, in one of the grandest gestures I know from the commercial art world, withdrew the piece from the sale and presented it to the school as a gift. Now, if only that sort of thing happened more often ...

The findspot of the Eton pectoral, before we move on, is believed to have been Dashur—more specifically the burial of a daughter of king Senwosret II called Sithathor—a lady to whose name the central element of the composition seems to allude. The piece had probably been removed from the burial by the workmen of Jacques de Morgan, whose excavations in the princesses’ catacombs at Dashur brought to light some of the finest and best preserved Middle Kingdom jewellery known. As you will doubtless all be aware, further items of jewellery from this Dashur treasure site were discovered by the Met. itself quite recently.

Glancing at a photograph, the size of this figure is not at all apparent; it could be almost life size. In fact, the head is little more than an inch high, with the piece measuring overall, from the top of the head to the tip of the fingers, just over 5 inches. The material is wood, fine-grained and delicately highlighted in black. A masterpiece, without any exaggeration. To judge from the realistic modelling of the facial features, which finds a parallel in the portraiture of Senwosret III, and the high waistline of the missing kilt, the piece dates from the 12th Dynasty—that is, sometime around 1825 BC.

Another favourite of mine—and probably of 90% of those who have visited the Met. exhibition—is this simple but evocative doll made simply from bound linen thread finished off with an unruly mop of blue, faience-beaded hair. She—I am assuming it’s a girl—stands a mere 3 inches high. Excavated by the English Egyptologist John Garstang at Beni Hasan in 1902/3, it passed into the collection of William MacGregor before being bought at auction by Percy Newberry. Having been rescued from an uncertain fate, the piece was then presented by Newberry to the Myers Museum.

Because of its wonderful condition, the great antiquity of this little piece is not at all obvious; indeed, if we didn’t know the context it would be difficult to suggest when it was made. In fact, Newberry’s doll dates from the 12th Dynasty, sometime after 1990 BC; she is almost 4000 years old. The grave she came from was Beni Hasan no. 420, buried together with another similar little image suggesting, I think, that the owner was most probably a child. Sadly, though, Garstang’s records of the dig are too vague to be certain on this point.

Perhaps the most spectacular of Eton’s Egyptian pieces is this section from a coffin lid of mid-18th Dynasty date—that is, around 1425 BC. Although what is preserved of the front carries no inscriptions, the principal title and name of the owner happily survive written in yellow paint on the inner surface. This man was the master builder Amenhotep, whose tomb is identified as that now numbered A7 at Dra Abul’Naga in western Thebes. Other objects are known from Amenhotep’s burial furniture, including the coffin base, four canopic jars, a shabti figure and fragments from his papyrus book of the dead—portions of which are here in the Met. The tomb appears to have been uncovered, and probably intact, by local diggers around 1890, and the contents promptly dispersed.

Amenhotep’s coffin, with its rich, red-gilded face and eerily lifelike inlaid eyes, must have been a superb specimen when intact, reflecting the owner’s high status at court. On the evidence of his papyrus, he died during the reign of Thutmose III or shortly after. This was a period of extensive construction work in the temple of Amun at Karnak and elsewhere in Thebes—and it’s nice to believe that with some of this our master builder may very well have been involved.

The material of this large—more than 6 inches high—and exquisitely modelled cosmetic vessel has been variously identified as glazed steatite or faience; the likelihood now would seem to be that it is indeed a glazed stone rather than glazed composition as we’ve catalogued it. The type is a familiar one: a palmiform column with cylindrical hollow, originally fitted with a separate base and a separate lid, this last pegged in and secured by means of a cord and clay seal. The contents were presumably a salve or something similar.

The front of the container carries, in the centre, a rectangular panel with the cartouches of king Amenhotep II of the 18th Dynasty. It dates, therefore, from around 1425 BC—the same period as the master-builder’s coffin lid we’ve just seen. Cartouches are not uncommon on royal gifts, but this piece carries in addition a further three horizontal lines of text which suggest it might even have been of kingly ownership: “O perfect god in all truth, the sovereign, life! prosperity! health! in whom there is no boasting, son of Amun, beloved of Montu, champion of all the gods as one whom Amun created of his own body—he has granted you victory such as no king has achieved since the first moment of creation”.


More remarkable still is the small vignette beneath these lines of text: here, two teams of horses are shown. Not extraordinary in itself, what is unusual is that each of the four horses is named: Amunerhatef (“Amun is before him”), Seshemnefer (“The good leader”), Aakherredwyef (“The one who is great beneath his legs”—suggesting, perhaps, that horses were indeed ridden at this early date), and Djerefamun (loosely translated, “Inheritance of Amun”).

An important piece—if only we knew more about where it came from, and who in antiquity it had actually belonged to.

We now move on to Eton’s collection of blue faience lotus bowls—one of the largest and most representative groups in existence. These shallow vessels, normally with a rounded base, represent one of the most familiar products of the New Kingdom faience worker.

The origins of this vessel go back to the late Middle Kingdom and before, to deep cups such as this example, at Eton, inscribed for king Sebekhotep IV of the 13th Dynasty—around 1700 BC. The type had its heyday in the mid-18th Dynasty, under Thutmose III, and continued to be made, as we shall see, down into the Ramesside period.

The method of manufacture of these vessels was relatively simple: a sheet of self-glazing faience paste was laid over a hemispherical form (perhaps a sand-filled bag), cut to shape, and fired. The precise use to which the vessels were put after manufacture is another matter; in fact, it remains quite uncertain whether such bowls were actually employed in a domestic context, or used solely for offerings in temple and tomb.

Eton’s collection includes examples of most of the principal designs and variants. Two are known to have been acquired at Thebes; while others, it may be suspected, come from the cemeteries of Hermopolis Magna in Middle Egypt—about which more later. The unifying theme of the type is the blue lotus, a flower which echoes, in its opening and closing, the rising and setting of the sun—which, for the Egyptians, was the principal image of rebirth in nature.

On two of the vessels—the specimen on the screen, and another, here—may be seen the tilapia fish, a creature which, protecting its eggs within its mouth, came to symbolize rebirth by the presence of adult and offspring in the one body. Of the two main types, the composition of the present bowl, with three fish shown sharing a single head, is masterly.

In these bowls, figures of animals and birds often intrude into the marsh scenes. In the vessel seen here, besides the Hathor masks and cow-imagery we see a group of geese being herded by a cat—presumably a rare survival of some now lost, Aesop-like fable.

Occasionally, in these bowls, the decoration seems to refer directly to the owner—here we see a noblewoman seated before an offering stand. The use of convolvulus plant decoration—which seems to indicate a distinct shift in focus towards funerary use—suggests a date for the piece at the end of the series, towards the end of the 2nd millennium BC.

An interesting variant of the lotus bowl is shown here, this time produced with a flattened base and rim and vertical sides. The material is again faience, though as you can see the colour is a dirty green rather than the bright blue usually encountered. The flavour of the design is in keeping with those found in the round-bottomed vessels—except that here the “goddess Hathor” is shown not as a cow but as a bull. This I cannot even begin to explain.

Another classic vessel type found in surprising quantity at Eton is the so-called lotus chalice—a stemmed cup with bowl in the shape of the lotus flower. The form first appears in the 18th Dynasty, in a variety of materials including metal, stone, faience and glass. Two basic types may be distinguished: chalices modelled in the form of the blue lotus, seen here, and vessels imitating the white lotus. So far as we can tell, the blue type was primarily cultic or votive in character, and was primarily employed in the offering-ritual to the dead. It occurs in both naturalistic and elaborated forms. In the first, the petal and leaf decoration of the flower is incised as here, moulded, or else painted in black on the exterior surface. In later, fancier examples, this naturalistic decoration is replaced by a complex series of registers—with scenes in relief illustrating kingly power, as here, and here, or celebrating in some manner the concept of rebirth. The relief-decorated type is firmly dated to the mid-10th century BC by this fragment from Eton’s study collection, which conveniently carries the cartouche of king Shoshenq I of the 22nd Dynasty.

Vessels which take the form of the white lotus are less common, and on those examples known the exterior decoration of the bowl is exclusively naturalistic, executed in the same manner as the blue lotus chalices. The earliest examples again date from the 18th Dynasty, and are of this rather heavy form; as the dynasty progressed, the shape became more delicate and multi-lobed, this in turn developing into a higher and rather more flaring form not so dissimilar to the final version of the blue lotus chalice.

Here, rather charmingly, we see the white lotus chalice actually in use, on a fragmentary faience collar terminal at Eton. The subject of the scene is a king, doubtless in a cultic context, identified by the inscription incised in front as Nebkheprure—Tutankhamun.

An entry in Major Myers’s diary for 18 April 1896 reads as follows: “To the Continental Hotel where I met Carl Reinhardt and Max Robinow, a Manchester cotton manufacturer who is here in Cairo for his health. He has begun to collect Egyptian things and has a fine winged Isis in blue which I …much want to get … as it belongs to the same mummy as my winged scarab ...”

Myers was lucky: Max Robinow agreed to sell him the “winged Isis”—more probably a figure of the goddess Nut—and this in due course arrived at Eton with its companion winged scarab, seen here. As Myers supposed, the two did indeed come from the same mummy; and by the time of his death Myers had managed to lay his hands on four other items to complete the funerary trousseau: this group of flat-backed polychrome faience figures, representing the four sons of Horus—Duamutef, Qebehsenuef, Imsety and Hapy.

Several identical sets, clearly from the same ancient workshop, have now been traced—and one of these, in Berlin, comes with a provenance: “Tuna el-Gebel”, the cemetery of Ashmunein, an important city located to the north of Asyut in Middle Egypt. It is a site whose name crops up again and again in connection with the Eton collection—and before I close this lecture I’d like briefly to consider why.

Besides Myers’s mummy ornaments, Eton’s collection contains other faience pieces of equally high quality reputed to come from Tuna el-Gebel. Several of the bowls and chalices previously discussed; a series of elegant, drop shaped faience flasks; this faience mirror handle; several openwork bead spacers; delicate faience rings—this one with a cat-headed goddess surrounded by her kittens, and this an openwork example from the same stable as the bead spacers; large-scale faience amulets—this superb specimen of the goddess Isis shown suckling the infant Horus; and this extraordinary, 4 inch high figure of the goddess Mut; and, one shown here, an exceptional group of rare faience counterpoises—the large pendants designed to balance the heavy broad collars so commonly seen in Egyptian reliefs and paintings. The list goes on.

By any standards this is a high proportion of quality fience objects from a single site, and warrants a closer look at the records.

What we discover is intriguing—that Tuna el-Gebel, for a brief moment during the 1890s, was an important source of Egyptian antiquities generally and of high quality faience in particular. This is substantiated by the number of fine faience objects which began to enter the major European collections around this time—before the flow abruptly stopped. Clearly, an important cemetery had been found, been exploited, and been worked out.

Of this find, no proper published account was ever given, but Henry Wallis, in his “Egyptian Ceramic Art”, gives a tantalizing summary of its range and content: “There were vessels of all kinds, figures of the gods, elegant objects of personal adornment, and all the trappings and paraphernalia of the mummy.”

Turning to Myers’s diaries, and now knowing what to look for, we find an intriguing entry for 3 March 1897:
“Got a man to guide me to the desert where digging was going on and could see some fifty men at work. However when I was about a mile off they spied me and were off double quick ... Visited the cemetery and at one tent found a few shabtis and pots on the ground which had been left behind. All the graves seem to be Roman ... Where the mummies and blue things came from is some distance away in the hills.”
Well aware of the rumoured source of the material he was buying, Myers had evidently decided to see Tuna el-Gebel for himself.

As the exhibition here at the Met. has demonstrated, Eton’s collection of Egyptian antiquities offers a rich feast for the eye. But there are hints—and strong ones—that the collection put together by William Joseph Myers is potentially far more than an assemblage of pretty baubles. Further study of Myers’s art works and mass of study-pieces holds out the possibility not only of expanding our general understanding of Egyptian glazed wares, but of shedding important new light on the nature and range of the legendary “Tuna find”—one of the most significant assemblages of Egyptian faience ever uncovered..


Source:Nicholas Reeves lecture delivered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 14 January 2001
http://www.nicholasreeves.com/item.aspx?category=Events&id=250












Back to top Go down
impi

avatar

Posts : 2306
Join date : 2010-07-02
Age : 37

PostSubject: Re: The Collector’s Art: Ancient Egypt at Eton College    Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:13 pm

God only knows how you find this stuff. Salute
Back to top Go down
90th

avatar

Posts : 9341
Join date : 2009-04-07
Age : 61
Location : Melbourne, Australia

PostSubject: Re: The Collector’s Art: Ancient Egypt at Eton College    Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:11 am

Lt .William Joseph Myers 3 / 60th Rifles joined the Batt at Fort Chelmesford in May , and served with it during the remainder of the war , including the advance of Crealock's Div to Port Durnford , and the second advance on Ulundi .
90th.
Back to top Go down
ADMIN

avatar

Posts : 3594
Join date : 2008-11-01
Age : 58
Location : KENT

PostSubject: Re: The Collector’s Art: Ancient Egypt at Eton College    Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:09 pm

Back to top Go down
http://www.1879zuluwar.com
littlehand

avatar

Posts : 7050
Join date : 2009-04-24
Age : 49
Location : Down South.

PostSubject: Re: The Collector’s Art: Ancient Egypt at Eton College    Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:56 pm

Thanks Pete. I did used the search box, but it came up with nothing.
Back to top Go down
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: The Collector’s Art: Ancient Egypt at Eton College    

Back to top Go down
 
The Collector’s Art: Ancient Egypt at Eton College
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
WWW.1879ZULUWAR.COM  :: THE ONE'S THE HISTORY BOOKS FORGOT-
Jump to: