This week I was privileged enough to visit the Egyptian galleries at Harrow School, Northwest London, with a group from the University of Liverpool. The Egyptian collection, containing some 900 objects, was donated to the museum in 1864 by a former pupil, Sir John Gardner Wilkinson, on the condition that it was used for the education of the schoolboys. The collection consists of objects that were purchased by Gardner Wilkinson during his travels in Egypt, together with a selection of objects from the EES excavations in the Faiyum and some objects from other private collections. His handwritten catalogues are also housed in the museum.
|Painted limestone head of a sphinx. New Kingdom|
The attitude of Gardner Wilkinson to archaeology and artefact acquisition at that time was surprisingly ahead of its time; Dr. Shaw's short catalogue of the collection preserves an excerpt of a letter from Gardner Wilkinson to the headmaster of Harrow in 1864:
"You know how often an interesting object may afford most useful information relating to customs and dates which, if not explained, may pass unobserved. Fragments of pottery may sometimes prove or illustrate more, and be of greater importance than, an entire handsome vase - one instance of this occurs to me in a broken bottle in the Egyptian collection that many might look upon as an insignificant fragment though it enables us to correct the date generally assigned to vases of that particular style".
|Rosette inlay tiles from from Tell el-Yahudiya. New Kingdom|
|Commemorative green-glazed steatite scarab of Amenhotep III. New Kingdom|
|Wooden hammer, mallet (Roman Period), copper alloy knife and chisel. New Kingdom|
|Selection of shabti-figurines. Late Period|
|Fragment from the Tomb of Seti I in the Valley of the Kings|
|Gilded and painted head from a cartonnage mummy case. Ptolemaic Period|
|Scaraboid with the face of Tuthmosis III wearing the blue crown. New Kingdom|