Small masterpieces of Egyptian art

7 November 2003 until 29 February 2004

Small masterpieces of Egyptian artSmall masterpieces of Egyptian art

‘The small masterpieces of Egyptian art’ presents 214 highlights of the Egyptian collection of the British Myers Museum in Eton College, a famous boys’ school near Windsor. The exhibition focuses on the remarkable beauty of the artefacts and the exquisite craftsmanship of the Egyptian artists. 

Egyptian masterpieces

Highlights of the exhibition include stunning amulets, ritual figurines, ceremonial water bowls and lotus chalices, including several from the reign of Amenhotep III and Tutankamun. The artefacts are small and range in age from 5500 to 1700 years.
Many of the pieces on display are made from faience, which the Egyptians dubbed tjechenet, ‘that which dazzles or gleams’. Egyptian faience is a glass-like material, notable for its wonderful blue-green glaze. For the Egyptians, faience symbolised rebirth and fertility. They believed that the glossy surface of the material resembled the sun’s brightness, the source of eternal life.

Unique presentation

The ancient Egyptian artefacts have never before been displayed in Europe. Part of the collection – less than half the objects presented in this exhibition – was on show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in autumn 2000. ‘The small masterpieces of Egyptian art’ was designed by Wim Crouwel, former director of Rotterdam’s Museum Boymans van Beuningen, who has placed the objects in an atmospheric ‘forest of pillars’.

Remarkable collection

The Myers Museum was named after a former pupil of Eton College, the British army officer Major William Joseph Myers (1858-1899). While stationed in Egypt, he developed into a passionate connoisseur of the country’s culture and antiquities. The collection he bequeathed to Eton College is considered one of the finest private collections of ancient Egyptian art in the world.