The Prince and the Plunder

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

Blue silk cloak with gold lining *

Published / by Andrew Heavens / Leave a Comment

What: Blue silk cloak with gold lining, richly embroidered and decorated with silver gilt filigree

Where: Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Downing St, Cambridge CB2 3DZ

This appears to be at one of a group of similar robes, cloaks or mantles from Magdala currently split up in the store rooms of The British Museum, The Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and The Ethnological Museum of Berlin. See the ones we have tracked down here.

The Berlin database entry, which has several detailed images, gives details on the collection and suggests Emperor Tewodros initially commissioned them to send as presents to Queen Victoria. It also says a group of missionaries from Magdala had been trying to sell the cloaks in Egypt after the campaign.

The Cambridge catalogue entry, which includes pictures, reads:

Context: “Information supplied by Nicola Stylianou, PhD student at the V&A and taken from the V&A archives, offers evidence that Z 19184-5, Z 18161 and Z 19188 were transferred from the Victoria and Albert Museum on 24/8/1934, with the Hawaiian cape 1934.1159, three Chinese textiles, a Russian silk, and a fringed woven vegetable fibre textile, with bands of geometrical patterns’ from the South Seas, the latter items as yet unidentified.

“The V&A’s handwritten register, completed on entry notes ‘Robe , dark blue silk with coloured silk embroidery, and ornamented with silver gilt filigree. Abyssinian.’ Noted as bought for £80 on March 18 1869 from ‘Lt Col. Stanton’. This is presumably Edward Stanton, consul-general in Alexandria, who was involved in the dispute regarding the imprisonment of the consulate Capt. Charles Duncan Cameron, and others by King Tewodros in 1864, which led to the British 1868 Expedition to Abyssinia.”

Context: See 1944.25. ‘A label stitched into the cloak reads: “Col Stanton” F. Veys, 19/9/2005’

Reference Numbers Z 19185 Other: 211-1869 (V&A)
Measurement Notes: 134 cm long, 120 cm wide

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *