Belzoni : The giant archaeologists love to hate

Our latest exhibition on Capital Collections records Giovanni Belzoni’s research whilst on expedition in Egypt and Nubia.

Belzoni’s introduction to the wonders of the ancient world could hardly have been less auspicious. Whilst in Cairo waiting for an audience with Mohammed Ali Pasha, the Italian monk-turned-peddler-turned-hydrologist-turned-circus impresario paid a visit to the Great Pyramid and became so tightly wedged his guides had to forcibly extract him!

Tableau representing the two niches supposed to include the names of the hero deposited in the Tomb

As an explorer Belzoni was motivated by finding hidden treasure to sell as artefacts to collectors. His methods were often destructive and quite unorthodox he was once called “the most notorious tomb robber Egypt has ever known” but his discoveries laid the foundation for the scientific study of Egyptology.

Our exhibition brings together some of the paintings from his adventures ……let’s explore!



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