Farewell Sekhemka

Northampton’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 … Continue reading Farewell Sekhemka

Now who will get to keep Sekhemka?

Last year Northampton Council sold an Egyptian statue of Sekhemka for a lot of money. The Department for Culture, Media & Sport has deferred a decision on the export licence application for a second time, now giving themselves until March 29 2016. It seems there is a realistic chance that someone will buy it back … Continue reading Now who will get to keep Sekhemka?

Antiquities sales: it’s a funny old world

Three months ago Christie’s London sold an ancient Egyptian statue for £14m (estimate £4–6m). Today Bonhams London were to sell a group of ancient Egyptian antiquities (estimate £80–120,000). The lots had things in common. Both were taken out of Egypt (just) over a century ago, and both were in museums open to the public. Both … Continue reading Antiquities sales: it’s a funny old world

Wear shoes when you visit Northampton’s museums

Arts Council England’s judgment that Northampton Borough Council contravened museum accreditation standards when it sold the Sekhemka statue, is the first of similar statements we expect to hear, from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Museums Association among others. David Mackintosh, leader of the council, apparently called the news “disappointing” and “puzzling”. More puzzling is … Continue reading Wear shoes when you visit Northampton’s museums

Seven things about Sekhemka

1. It’s beautiful The best analysis of the statue is by TGH James. An Egyptologist at the British Museum, he described it in full, for the first time, in 1963, after someone had tipped him off about it (“The Northampton statue of Sekhemka”, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 49, 5–12). According to James, the man is … Continue reading Seven things about Sekhemka