A weekend of Egypt in London
On 15 and 16 December I was in London visiting as many places with Egyptian artefacts as I could find. I dare say I was successful.
On Saturday my morning started with a visit to the Sir John Soane Museum. The main reason for my visit was the sarcophagus of Seti I.
It was even better than I imagined, even though it’s thoroughly ‘hidden’ away somewhere downstairs. You could easily spend hours looking at the very small, but detailed hieroglyphs on the inside and outside of the sarcophagus and the wonderfully carved depiction of Nut at the bottom. The alabaster is quite thick and still it looks almost see-through.
Unfortunately photography is not allowed at the museum.
To be honest, I found the rest of this museum disappointing. Most items have no description/explanation and in a lot of places it’s so dark you can hardly make out the artefacts at all. I feel a lot of items don’t get the room and attention they deserve.
After the Sir John Soane Museum I found my way to Apsley House. Again, no photography. That is too bad, because most of the house is big and bright; ideal for photography.
The reason for visiting this house was the Sèvres ‘Egyptian Service’. The service was given to Wellington by Louis XVIII. Personally I’m not a fan of ceramics and especially not the amount of gold which is usually used, but this one is quite impressive. The decorations are very detailed. The centre piece is huge, but again very detailed. Some of the hieroglyphs are very small, but can still be read. I wouldn’t be surprised if the hieroglyphs on the centre piece are copies of the originals. The ‘hieroglyphs’ on the plates etc are most definitely fake…but they do look nice.
Right across the road is Wellington Arch where an exhibition can be seen called “Egypt in England”. It’s a small exhibition, mainly consisting of photos, showing the influence of Egypt on English architecture and interiour design. It’s based on a book by Chris Elliott. There are still some buildings in the country with obvious Egyptian influences in their design. Of course photos of the Egyptian Hall at Harrods are present as well. The exhibition runs until 13 January 2013.
This time I went to see the temporary exhibition of Gebelein man, which has since been extended until 3 March 2013.
I really enjoyed the additional display where you can explore the scans made of this natural mummy. It’s something you rarely get to see, let alone manipulate yourself. It’s possible to see the scans on skin level, soft tissue and skeleton and it can be turned any way you want. While I was there I saw a lot of people (various ages including young children) who were absolutely fascinated by the display and additional information.
I am quite happy the exhibition has been extended, giving more people the chance to visit it.
As I said before, I have visited the British Museum before and I have taken quite a few photos. In fact, I like this museum so much it will get its own post some time soon.
For now…this was part of an Egypt filled weekend which I thoroughly enjoyed. And I’m sure I will be able to find even more Egyptian artefacts in London in the future.