Friday, December 12, 2014

Robin Symes, the Egyptian Priest and Sotheby's

Egyptian priest from Schinoussa Archive
Source: ARCA / Tsirogiannis
Later today Sotheby's will be auctioning "AN EGYPTIAN DIORITE FIGURE OF A PRIEST OF THE TEMPLE OF MUT, LATE 25TH/EARLY 26TH DYNASTY, CIRCA 670-610 B.C." (lot 6). The collecting history is provided:

  • private collection (Christie's, London, April 27th, 1976, no. 135, illus.) 
  • Khnoum, Geneva, 1992 
  • Drouot-Richelieu, Paris, October 1st, 1996, no. 462, illus. 
  • Safani Gallery, New York 
  • Jack Josephson Collection (Sotheby’s, New York, June 5th, 2008, lot 57, illus.) 

In 2008 it sold for $422,500.

Who was the vendor in 1976? And who was the statue's proprietor prior to 1976? When did the statue leave Egypt?

The statue has been exhibited at:

  • the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University, August 2008-August 2013 
  • the Albany Institute of History and Art, “The Mystery of the Albany Mummies”, September 21st, 2013-June 8th, 2014

Part of the collecting history has been expanded. Glasgow University researcher Dr Christos Tsirogiannis has spotted that the statue appears in the Schinoussa archive and therefore makes the link with Robin Symes.

Egyptian objects with similar collecting histories were withdrawn from auction at Christie's yesterday. We can only presume that the staff at Sotheby's have been in touch with the Egyptian authorities.

Will the statue be withdrawn from the sale today?

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