The Prince and the Plunder

A book on how Britain took one boy and piles of treasures from Ethiopia

Hand-held cross

Published / by Andrew Heavens / Leave a Comment

What: An engraved cross taken by the British Museum’s expert on the expedition, Richard Rivington Holmes

Where: The British Museum, Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG

Provenance: Maqdala referenced at length in the museum’s acquisition notes.

The catalogue entry reads:

Cross; cast in bronze and gilded. An upper patée cross is joined to a square shaped base with a shaft. The front upper part is engraved with figurative images and flowers; the back is engraved with figurative images, flowers, and a small Ge’ez inscription it has four large ovoid holes; outer edges have four finial crosses, a further three are missing.

Acquisition notes: “Richard Rivington Holmes, an assistant in the manuscripts department of The British Museum, had accompanied the expedition as an archaeologist. He acquired a number of objects for the British Museum, including around 300 manuscripts which are now housed in the British Library. In 1868 the Secretary of State for India, Sir Stafford Henry Northcote, 1st Earl of Iddesleigh, donated to The British Museum two further collections of material from Maqdala.”

Museum number: Af1868,1001.20
Date: 18thC
Acquisition date: 1868

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