Howard Carter Tutankhamun Documents to sell at Bonhams

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2015-06-26 11:03:29

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Howard Carter Tutankhamun Documents to sell at Bonhams

31 May 2012, 11:01 GMT+01

The last papers of Egyptologist Howard Carter, largely concerning his discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun, are to sell at Bonhams Books, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs auction on June 12th.

The large collection of ephemera, retained by the Carter family since Howards death in 1939 until now, comprises handwritten drafts of the account of his discovery, lecture notes, correspondence including copies of letters he himself sent, many photographs, archaeology equipment, and documents relating to his own death and burial.

Aristocratic amateur archaeologist Lord Carnarvon hired Carter to supervise his excavations from 1907. Finally, in 1922, Carter and his group unearthed the best-preserved pharaoh’s tomb ever found in the Valley of the Kings – that of Tutankhamun. After breaking into a tomb filled with treasures, Carter then spent months cataloguing their contents. There were rumours of a curse attached to the tomb, exacerbated by Carnarvon’s mysterious death the next year.

The handwritten drafts for Carter’s three-volume book, The Tomb of Tutankhamun, begin: ‘Strange and beautiful objects call for wonder, conjecture and fair words’. The book is the only report that remains of the excavation, and these notes represent an insight into the discovery and variations on the published text.

Carter’s personal and previously unseen photographs also provide a fascinating angle into the events that surrounded the excavation, and Carter’s letter-writing case, two thermos flasks, and a leather cased tape measure are also included in the lot.

The various items of correspondence include ‘letters from a fair number [of] eccentric or deranged correspondence, inspired by both his discovery of the tomb [and] its supposed curse’.

The entire archive is expected to fetch between £100,000-£150,000 at Bonhams on June 19th.

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