History of Art and Architecture

Not a Model Egyptologist: The Rickety Life and Times of Robert de Rustafjaell

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - 12:00pm

Lecture: Wednesday, April 11 12-1pm at CMNH Earth Theater

Objects workshop: Thursday, April 12 10am-12pm at CMP Board Room

Boxed lunch: Thursday, April 12 12pm-2pm at FFA Seminar Room

RSVP for lunch by April 3 at: http://wgamlunch.rsvpify.com

The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are popularly called the "Golden Age" of Egyptology - a term which begs a lot of questions. Golden for whom? And how? Large-scale excavations in Egypt, both official and unofficial, enriched museum and private collections outside Egypt, and scientific and popular publications brought Pharaonic Egypt to ever more interested and informed audiences. Robert de Rustafjaell is one of the strangest and most mysterious figures of this period - a bigamist, a serial absconder and man of many aliases, an amasser of valuable and worthless objects including the oldest paintings in the world on canvas and a relic of the true cross, a Zelig-like figure who turns up in the oddest places - and one whose Egyptian collections enriched the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. This lecture will provide an outline of Robert de Rustafjaell's life, attempting to disentangle truth from fiction, and to set de Rustafjaell in the context of his times.

Tom Hardwick is an Egyptologist and curator. He has worked with Egyptian collections in the UK, USA, and Egypt. He is a specialist in pharaonic Egyptian sculpture and iconography, and has worked extensively on the history of collecting Egyptian objects. He recently curated the Hall of Ancient Egypt at HMNS, which opened in 2013.