Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Marquis of Northampton (Re)claims Family's Ownership of Sekhemka statue

Duh. Read the small print. The deed of gift whereby the 4th Marquess of Northampton donated his Egyptian and geological collections (including the statue of Sekhemka which the Museum now wants to flog off) was signed in 1880 and reads as follows:
“The corporation covenant with the Marquis […] assigns at all times for ever hereafter to exhibit the same collection freely to the public […] and at no time to dispose of any part of the collections […] in default whereof at any time the said collection shall revert and be restored to the Marquis his heirs […] in as good condition as it was received.”
To download a copy of the deed of gift, click here (pdf)
 A spokesman for the museum says it's going ahead with flogging it off, they need the money and they assert that since the statue is not specifically mentioned, they can ignore the Marquis's clearly-expressed wishes in the matter"and are working with Arts Council England to achieve an ethical disposal” (sic). An ethical disposal would be to send it back to Egypt if nobody actually wants it in the UK.

 Patrick Steel, 'Northampton faces legal challenge over Egyptian collections', Museums Journal 20.05.2013.

Vignette: Sekhemka was a scribe, he could read, can Northampton councillors? 

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