Skip to main content

The Northampton statue: likely outcome

The Northampton Egyptian statue has been consigned for auction at Christie's today and I expect that it will be sold. The debate is not about whether or not it should have left Egypt in the mid nineteenth century, but whether or not it should have been deaccessioned by Northampton Museum and Art Gallery in order to fund museum developments. The Museums Association is not happy and has indicated the likely implications for the museums.

it is unlikely that any UK museum will make a bid, not least because they would rely on funding for the acquisition and this would probably not be forthcoming given the concerns of the MA.

But if the buyer is from abroad, will they be able to export it? Given the associations with Castle Ashby this is unlikely. Remember the Northampton amphora that resided in storage after the Castle Ashby Vase auction in the mid 1980s.

And as the MA has concerns, there is unlikely to be Matched funding from a UK museum.

So the outcome could be that the new buyer will have spent a substantial sum for an object that may not be able to leave the UK in the immediate future.

and Northampton Museum and Art Gallery could find itself unable to apply for national funding for the development that was the reason why they deaccessioned the statue.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Codename: Ainsbrook

I have been watching (UK) Channel 4's Time Team this evening. The programme looked at an undisclosed field (under a potato crop) where a Viking burial had been found. The location in Yorkshire was so sensitive that it was given a codename: Ainsbrook. Here is the summary:
In late 2003 two metal detectorists were working in a field in Yorkshire. They found 'treasure' buried just beneath the surface – a collection of Viking material next to a body. Although they had been detecting on the site for a number of years, during which time they had made large numbers of finds, nothing they had uncovered previously compared with this. They decided to share their discovery with archaeologists.The programme explored the tension between metal-detectorists and the English Heritage sponsored archaeologists putting six trenches into the field based on a geo-physical survey. Finds made by the metal-detectorists did not easily map onto the archaeological features.

Part of the programme had an …

The scale of the returns to Italy

I have been busy working on an overview, "Returning Archaeological Objects to Italy". The scale of the returns to Italy from North American collections and galleries is staggering: in excess of 350 objects. This is clearly the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the material that has surfaced on the market without a history that can be traced back to the period before 1970. 

I will provide more information in due course, but the researcher is a reminder that we need to take due diligence seriously when it comes to making acquisitions.

Stele returns to Greece

The Hellenic Ministry of Culture has announced (Saturday 8 September 2018) that a stele that had been due to be auctioned at Sotheby's in London in June 2017 has been returned to Greece (Friday 7 September 2018). The identification had been made by Cambridge-based forensic archaeologist Dr Christos Tsirogiannis.

It appeared that the stele had been supplied with a falsified history as its presence with Becchina until 1990 contradicted the published sale catalogue entry. It then moved into the hands of George Ortiz.

A year ago it was suggested that Sotheby's should contact the Greek authorities. Those negotiations appear to have concluded successfully.

The 4th century BC stele fragment, with the personal name, Hestiaios, will be displayed in the Epigraphic Museum in Athens. It appears to have come from a cemetery in Attica.