The Antiquities Collection
The 5th Earl of Carnarvon first travelled to Egypt in 1898. From 1906 he spent many winters in Egypt, and not merely as a traveller. He acquired concessions to excavate over 16 years near Luxor in the Valley of the Queen’s, the Valley of the Nobles, the Valley of the Kings, and in the Nile Delta near Alexandria.
Lord Carnarvon both discovered and purchased Egyptian artefacts. He created one of the most extraordinary Egyptian collections in the world, with unique and exquisite works of art. Following his death in 1923, the collection was sold by his widow to the Metropolitan Museum of New York in order to pay death duties. Howard Carter had catalogued it and commented that he had left a few unimportant items at Highclere.
Perhaps by comparison with some of the works of art sent to New York, the remainder seemed less significant. They were all tucked away in cupboards in Highclere Castle, until re-discovered by the family in 1987.
The British Museum and Newbury Museum have kindly lent back further statues and antiquities, which had originally been lent to them by the Carnarvon family.
The Antiquities Room is explained and illustrated so visitors can observe the jewellery, the faces and figures, the beautifully crafted jars and a coffin of a noble woman from 3,500 years ago.