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Caves of Dordogne, were excavated by Mr. CHRISTY and M. LARTET, at the expense of the former. This collection is very extensive, and includes a number of drawings on reindeer bone and horn, probably some of the most ancient works of art that have been preserved. It would have been still more extensive, had it not been known that Mr. Cnarsrr intended to present the unique specimens to the French Museum, an intention which the Trustees under his Will have felt bound to fulfil. The Museum includes many ancient stone implements found on the surface, in England and Ireland, France, Belgium, and Denmark. The last of these is a remarkable collection, and includes a good series from the Danish Kitchenmiddens. A few specimens from Italy are also to be found ; a valuable collection from the caves at Gibraltar; and specimens from the Swiss Lakes. For convenience, a case of ancient stone implements from Asia has been placed in this room, as well as the more modern implements, dresses, and weapons of the Esquimaux of America and Asia, and of the maritime tribes of the N orth
. West Coast of America. These furnish striking illustrations of the remains found in the Caves of Dordogne, and prove that, while the climate was similar to that of the northern countries in question, the inhabitants of that part of France must have resembled the Esquimaux in their habits and implements. '
The African Collection is very extensive, and supplies a lacuna in the collections of the British Museum, where there are few objects from this continent. The same may be said of the series from the Asiatic Islands. The collection from Asia proper is not very numerous; the races now occupying that continent being generally in a more advanced state of civilization than that which especially interested Mr. Cnmsrr. Attention should, however, be
called to two valuable relics from China; an Imperial State Seal carved in jade, and a set of tablets of the same material, on which has been engraved a poem by the Emperor KIEN-LUNG.
The Polynesian Room contains a valuable collection of weapons, ornaments, and dresses, both from the islands inhabited by the black races of the Pacific, and from those of Polynesia proper. Many of the specimens are of interest, as belonging to a state of culture which has now completely changed, and as illustrating manners and customs that have disappeared before the commerce and the teaching of Europeans.
In the ‘ Asian Room ’ are placed the larger objects from the Pacific, such as spears, clubs, and paddles. The collection of spears is very large and interesting.
The Australian Collection is very complete, and it would not be easy to replace it, inasmuch as the native races are dwindling in most parts of that continent.
The American department in chief includes antiquities and recent implements and dresses from the North American Indians; ancient Carib implements; and recent collections from British Guiana, and other parts of South America. The most valuable part of the contents of this room is the collection of Mexican antiquities, which is not only extensive, but includes some specimens of great rarity. Among them should be especially mentioned the following :——An axe of Avanturine jade, carved into the form of a human figure; a remarkable knife of white chalcedony; a sacrificial collar formed of a hard green stone; a squatting figure, of good execution, sculptured out of a volcanic rock; and three remarkable specimens coated with polished stones. The latter consist of a wooden mask covered with a mosaic of blue stones, presumed to be turquoises, but
more probably a rare form of amazon-stone; a human skull made into a mask, and coated with obsidian and the blue stone mentioned above; and a knife with a blade of fiint, and with a wooden handle, sculptured to represent a Mexican divinity, and encrusted with obsidian, coral, malachite, and other precious materials. There is also a small but choice collection of Peruvian pottery.
A catalogue of the collection was privately printed by Mr. CHRISTY in 1862; but it embraces only a small part of the present collection. A more extended catalogue is in preparation.
It is due to accuracy to add that the aspect of the rooms devoted to the Gnars'rr Museum in Victoria Street, and the facilities of study which they afford, are utterly unsatisfactory to real students. They are adapted only to holiday sightseers, who look and go, and but to very small groups, indeed, even of them.
Every praise is due both to the Trustees and to their officer, for having done their best, under strait and lamentable limitations, the removal of which is the duty of Parliament and of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, not that of the Trustees. Under the Premiership of such an eminent scholar and writer as Mr. GLADSTONE, humbler students of history and of literature would fain hope that a long-standing reproach will speedily be removed; but his ministerial surroundings are unfriendly to such anticipations. After words which we have recently heard, from the Treasury Bench itself, about Public Parks, there is only scanty ground for hope that much improvement can, under existing circumstances, be looked for in respect to Public Museums.
At all events, the condition, as to space, of the 011111er Museum in Victoria Street, no less than the condition, in
that respect, of portions of the general Museum of Antiquities at Bloomsbury itself—and of nearly all our splendid national collections in Natural History—gives tenfold importance to that question of speedy enlargement or efficient reconstruction which it will be my duty rather to state, than to discuss, in the next chapter. It will be my earnest aim to state it with impartiality, and, for the most part, in better words than my own.
Next in importance—but next at a long interval—to the accessions which the Nation owes to the munificence of Henry CHRISTY, comes the bequest of Mr. James W001)HOUSE, of Corfu, the circumstances attendant upon which have much singularity.
It is only of late years (speaking comparatively) that British Consuls have become at all notable as collectors of antiquities. But when once the new fashion was set, it spread rapidly, and it may now be hoped that there will be as little lack of continuance as of speed. In Chapter V, I had to mention (though very inadequately to the worth of their labours) several Consuls in the Levant, who have eminently distinguished themselves in augmenting our National Museum. But in this chapter the reader must be introduced to a Consul who rather obstructed than promoted a worthy public object.
James Woonaonsn was a British subject engaged in commerce, who had resided for many years at Corfu (where for a time he had filled the office of Government Secretary), and who consoled his self~imposed exile by collecting a cabinet of coins, which eventually became one of great value, and also an extensive museum of miscellaneous, but chiefly of Greek, antiquities. Repeatedly, during his lifetime, he announced his desire and purpose to perpetuate
his collection by giving it to the British Museum. When his health failed, he began to superintend in person the packing up of the most valuable portions of his museum; but illness grew upon him, and he was forced to leave ofi' his preparations abruptly.
A delicate circumstance connected with his family circle seems to have combined with this regretted interruption, by increasing illness, of his precautionary measures and intentions (the secure fulfilling of which lay near his heart), to make him uneasy and anxious. He sent for a legal friend, Dr. ZAMBELLI; told him of his plans, and also of his fears that they might be—in the event of his sudden death, and he felt that death was fast coming—obstructed. ZAMBELLI told him that the person to whom his purpose and wishes ought to be communicated, without delay, was undoubtedly the British Consul-General, Mr. SAUNDERS. In joint communication with both of them, a deed of gift was prepared. ‘Having been engaged,’ said the donor, ‘in numismatic pursuits, . . . . and being desirous that the Collection of Coins and otlier Antiquities so formed by me, should be dedicated to national purposes, I give,’ and so on. No inventory, however, had been made when the donor died, on the twenty-sixth of February, 1866. Before VVoonnousn’s death, Mr. Consul-General SAUNDERS put a guard round the house; and, immediately after the event, sent away all the household, taking ofiicial possession of the whole of the effects, in the manner usual in cases of undoubted intestacy.* He then, according to his own statement, set about ‘selecting such portions’ of Mr. WOOD
” This, I think, has been clearly shown by the correspondence laid before Parliament. The reader is referred to the papers of the session of 1867, entitled Correspondence as to the Woodlwuse Collection of Antiquities, printed by order of Lord Derby, as Foreign Secretary.