thinking about archaeology

Farewell Sekhemka

Sekhemka-Christies.jpgNorthampton’s statue of Sekhemka will leave the UK, now that the Department for Culture, Media & Sport’s export licence deferral has finally expired.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey placed a temporary export bar on the beautiful statue a year ago, after Christie’s sold it on behalf of Northampton Borough Council for a staggering £14m (though the council’s right to sell was far from clear). That bar was extended last October until March 29, “following notification of a serious intention to raise funds to save the Sekhemka statue for the UK”. Martin Bailey reports in the Art Newspaper that such funds never materialised. We don’t yet know where the statue is going, so we can still hope, perhaps, that it might emerge in a publicly accessible gallery or museum. This is a sad and shameful turn of events, but it’s unsurprising no one in the UK bought the statue. Thanks to Northampton Council’s actions, which included a murky deal with Lord Northampton, Sekhemka is tainted.

So here, as he embarks on another journey in his long history, is what he looked like when last seen in public. I’m pleased if anyone uses these photos (and I can supply higher resolution files on request, and have others). All I ask please (Art Newspaper) is a credit to Mike Pitts.

gallerywomanleft sidefrontscribebackleft side panelright side panelSekhemka feetin Christies

5 responses

  1. Surely if this statue was going anywhere it should be returned to Egypt, but that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. How can a state-owned institution sell part of their collection without voters and constituents knowing where it is going? Isn’t it possible to do a freedom of information request here?

    April 5, 2016 at 11:30 am

  2. Pingback: Farewell Sekhemka | The Heritage Trust

  3. Sigh… We’ve quoted you Mike, and used one of your photos – hope that’s OK.

    April 5, 2016 at 12:33 pm

  4. Dylan Bickerstaffe

    An utter disgrace. Northampton Council sold the statue, to which they had very questionable rights. people should be in jail for this. I agree that if it is to go anywhere it should be Egypt, and Christies should have all profits seized.

    April 10, 2016 at 12:07 pm

  5. Gwyneth Ashworth-Pratt

    I’m just disgusted 1/ the COUNCIL had no right to sell it – it had been given to the PEOPLE. 2/ I presume we will never see it again = it has been STOLEN from us. 3/ Why did Christies sell it without being SURE of the legality?

    April 12, 2016 at 2:08 pm

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