When I first read about an exhibition at The Atkinson in Southport, recreating Egyptologist Anne Goodison’s house out of paper, I thought it would be a fairly small affair. But, when we visited The Atkinson this summer, I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw.
Born in Padua, Italy, in 1778, Giovanni Battista Belzoni led a colourful life. He studied hydraulic engineering in Rome when he was young, but then moved to the Netherlands and worked as a barber. He subsequently joined a circus in England, performing as a strongman, where he’d carry up to 12 people at a time across the circus floor (he stood in at 6′ 7″; impressive, even by today’s standards). An obvious career path, wouldn’t you agree!
On this day, 15 July, in 1799, a group of Napoleon’s soldiers discovered part of a broken inscription at a town called el-Rashid. Ownership of it, and other French discoveries in Egypt, was passed to the British in 1801, under the Treaty of Alexandria, and the stone has been at the British Museum ever since.