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Egyptian Treasures go on show at the Barber

Subscribe to RSS RSSTuesday, 1st June, 2010

SACRED AND PROFANE: Treasures of Ancient Egypt
18 June 2010 - 18 January 2012

A cache of priceless artefacts from the time of the Pharaohs goes on display at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Birmingham this month in the exhibition Sacred and Profane: Treasures of Ancient Egypt.

The Myers Collection of Egyptian Antiquities, which belongs to top public school Eton College, is not only one of the most stunning assemblages of ancient Egyptian decorative art worldwide, but also a window into the distant world of travelers in 19th-century Egypt and the Middle East.

Educated at Eton College and Sandhurst, Major William Joseph Myers (1858?1899) started collecting in Egypt in the 1880s. The country was a magnet for painters, novelists, archaeologists, collectors and adventurers, and it was in Cairo that Verdi?s Egyptian-themed Aida opened in 1871.

Spectacular archaeological discoveries were regularly made, and throwing mummy-unwrapping parties was fashionable in Europe and America. On Myers?s untimely death in 1899, Eton College became the beneficiary of his collection, diaries and library. Sacred and Profane celebrates this extraordinary bequest and launches the University of Birmingham?s partnership with Eton College and Johns Hopkins University, USA.

Statuettes of mortals and gods, mummy masks, jewellery, pottery and papyri are displayed next to the Barber Institute?s own Egyptian collection of coins from Roman and Byzantine Alexandria. The exhibition is a collaboration with the University of Birmingham?s College of Arts and Law, and a 3D gallery with highlights of the Myers collection is being created by its Visual and Spatial Technology Centre (VISTA). The exhibition is complemented by a book, also entitled Sacred and Profane, as well as by a fascinating programme of lectures, gallery tours and talks, children?s craft workshops, and other varied activities and events.

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