Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Hatshepsut at Highclere - an update

After spending a good amount of time on the Hatshepsut Museum Database recently - it has become clear to me why i have been unable to locate any item in their collection relating to Hatshepsut.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art houses a number of items purchased from Lady Carnarvon, after the death of Lord Carnarvon. Perhaps to pay for the upkeep of Highclere- i am not sure.

The main thing for me is to know that there were items at Highclere relating to Hatshepsut, but today these items are no longer there.



williecross said...

Stuart : As the biographer Almina, Countess of Carnarvon, may I clarify the position regarding the circumstances of Almina's sell-off of the Egyptian collection (first owned by Lord Carnarvon ) to the Metropolitan, New York.

At the time of the sale,( which was announced by the Metropolitan in February 1927 ) Almina had long ceased to live at Highclere Castle. Her son, Henry, the 6th Earl, inherited Highclere in 1923.

In 1927, Almina was living at 1 Seamore Place, in London's Mayfair. Quite simply, after being embroiled in a scandalous Court Case " Dennistoun v Dennistoun"( in 1925) which cost her upwards of £40,000, Almina needed money to recover her reputation. With the £50,000 from the sale to the Metropolitan she was able to open a private nursing home, called Alfred House, at 7-9 Portland Place, London. This venture was intended also as a tribute to her great benefactor, Baron Alfred de Rothschild. Almina had made a name for herself as a nurse in the Great War. Alfred House ran from 1927-1939.

Howard Carter sorted out the 5th Earl's Egyptian collection for Almina to sell to America. It seems that some " unimportant" pieces were left unsold, and these items apparently form the basis of what was retained ( but it is claimed hidden away ) by the 6th Earl, and these pieces only came to light after his death in 1987. Apparently these are the pieces that constitute the Castle's " Egypt at Highclere" exhibition.

Further information on the key events in 1920s can be gleaned in my book " The Life and Secrets of Almina Carnarvon", but I do not cite or list the Egyptian pieces sold/ unsold. Kind Regards William Cross, FSA Scot

Stuart Tyler said...

Hi, William. Thank you for your input. I really enjoyed the above details from you. Having seen the Highclere collection, i was initially surprised at the lack of items on view. I now know why and thank you for the detail.

You may be interested to know that whilst there, my wife, daughter and I took the tour of the Estate. When it came to the inevitable "hidden collections" area of the property - we got the story we all hear today. I would be interested to know more details on this specific area. Were they intentionally hidden? Does your book cover this?

Thanks again for the comments.