Egyptian Art at Eton College
Selections from the Myers Museum
September 26, 2000–January 21, 2001
Accompanied by a catalogue
This landmark exhibition displays the little-known collection of Eton College, one of the world's finest collections of ancient Egyptian decorative arts. Named for Major William Joseph Myers (1858–1899), an alumnus who bequeathed his extensive and highly regarded collection of Egyptian antiquities to the college a century ago, the Myers Museum represents a rare example of a private nineteenth-century art collection that has remained substantially intact to our day.
Educated at Eton, W. J. Myers received his military training at Sandhurst and eventually obtained a commission in the King's Royal Rifle Corps. In 1882, after service in South Africa during the Zulu War, he was posted to Cairo at the age of twenty-four. Myers began to collect Egyptian antiquities in 1884, and a dozen years later—by the time of his last trip to Egypt—he had acquired more than thirteen hundred outstanding works of ancient Egyptian art, characterized by exquisite workmanship, beautiful color, and often, historical significance.
The exhibition at the Metropolitan features approximately 150 works of art, most of which have never been displayed outside of Eton, including a series of stunning chalices and bowls of Egyptian faience, an exceptionally rare pectoral ornament of electrum, and a finely carved, fragmentary wooden statuette of a man. The works on display represent the entire range of ancient Egyptian history, from predynastic times to the Roman period.