viernes, 17 de junio de 2016

Royal statue from the Amarna period

Royal statue from the Amarna period, Dynasty XVII, reign of Akhenaten (c.1350-1334 BC)

The forger of the Bolton statue has been jailed for four years and eight months, his 83-year-old mother was given a 12-month suspended sentence con and her wheel-chair bound husband will be sentenced once medical reports have been completed.

Original report, posted December-2004. The 52cm high sculpture is carved in translucent alabaster (calcite) and represents a royal female of the Amarna Period (c.1350-1334 B.C.). The head, arms and lower legs have not survived but it is believed she is one of the daughters of the Pharaoh Akhenaten and his chief queen, Nefertiti. The statue is wearing a very pleated robe over the left shoulder and under the right. It has a side-lock indicating the subject is still a youth.
The position of the pillar at the back shows that the work was part of a double statue, probably including the mother. The style is very distinctive to the early part of this period and has a classic narrow upper torso and very large hips and tummy. The pleating is very finely carved and the piece is generally of high quality. Elements of the extreme style of the sculpture suggest a date early in Akhenaten's reign. This may be the eldest daughter, Meritaten, but the piece is not inscribed so the exact identity is uncertain. Akhenaten and Nefertiti's third daughter, Ankhsenpaaten (later Ankhsenamun) became the wife of Tutankhamun, who succeeded Akhenaten on the throne and was probably his son, but perhaps not by Nefertiti.

Various sculptures survive from Akhenaten's (Amenhotep IV) reign but pieces such as this are rare and of significance. A similar torso on a smaller scale and less extreme in style carved from red quartzite, probably of Nefertiti and later in the reign, is in the Louvre. A draped headless figure of a princess in limestone, again on a smaller scale and later in the reign, is in the University of Pennsylvania Museum. The bust of a princess in the Louvre with the side-lock of youth in limestone, who was also wearing a pleated robe.

The sculpture was privately owned in Bolton and was purchased by the owner's great grandfather in 1892 at a sale of the contents of Silverton Park in Devon, the home of the 4th Earl of Egremont. The sale catalogue does not contain a recognisable description of this piece and it appears to have been one of a number of sculptures on display in the long gallery of the house. George Francis Wyndham (1785-1845) became 4th Earl of Egremont on the death of his uncle, George O'Brien Wyndham, the 3rd Earl in 1837. Although inheriting the title, the 4th Earl was disappointed not to acquire the grand family home at Petworth in Sussex which was left to the 3rd Earl's illegitimate son and adopted heir, George Wyndham. The 4th Earl decided to build a great house for himself on the estates in Devon and employed James Thomas Knowles as architect. Knowles's plan was for a house about 600 feet long. The final scheme was slightly smaller but even so resulted in a mansion, covering an acre of land, of 187 rooms, 130 marble mantelpieces and 150 cellars. It was built from 1839–1845, but the inside was never to be finished entirely as the 4th Earl died in 1845. His widow died in 1876 and they had no children. After the sale of the contents in 1892, the house was demolished with dynamite in 1902. All that survives now are the impressive stables, owned by the Landmark Trust, who hope to raise money to carry out a full restoration.

The 4th Earl of Egremont was not particularly known as a collector and it seems likely that some of the contents of Silverton Park could have come from Petworth or the family estates in Cumberland. The 3rd Earl of Egremont was a renowned patron of art welcoming Turner, Constable and other artists to Petworth. The 2nd Earl had collected classical sculptures and the 3rd Earl added to this and also commissioned works for his gallery from leading sculptors of the time. The 3rd Earl and his brother Charles Wyndham both knew Gavin Hamilton who acquired ancient sculpture mainly in Rome.

One of the two cartonnage mummy cases sold at Silverton Park was probably that purchased later from Sherratt's of Chester, by William Hesketh Lever the 1st Viscount Leverhulme. The upright wooden-framed display case was surmounted by a plaque with an armorial shield and the legend “George Windham, Earl of Egremont. Mut-em-Mennu. Brought by Chas. Windham for Ye Museum of Egremont. Ameu-Ra. Thebes. Roma. MDXXI.” The date in Roman numerals is clearly a blunder. George Wyndham became 3 rd Earl in 1763 and as the display case was in the Georgian style. The mummy case was perhaps acquired in Rome in the later 18th century before Gavin Hamilton's death in 1797 or before 1820. The Amarna princess may also have been acquired in Rome with other pieces was transferred to the 4th Earl's gallery at Silverton Park. It is unlikely that her identity could be recognised at this stage and the torso might have been viewed as a voluptuous, or erotic, classical draped figure.

Since leaving Silverton Park, the Amarna princess has spent the last 110 years in private hands in Lancashire. The National Arts Collection Fund, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Friends of Bolton Museum and Art Gallery, The Bradshaw Gass Trust and Manchester Ancient Egypt Society raised the £440,000 to purchase the piece.

The statuette compliments the Museum’s extensive Egyptology collection which already has material from this reign - acquired from subscriptions to British excavations at Tell el-Amarna in the 1920’s and 1930’s and from the continued work there by the Egypt Exploration Society since 1977. The objects include painted pavement, small sculptures and reliefs, domestic items, pottery, textiles, decorative inlays and a variety of finds from the temples, houses and workmen’s village at the city.

Bolton Museum

http://www.ancient-egypt.co.uk

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