Ancient Egyptian statue to be sold

25th Jan 2013

An Egyptian statue dating from 2400 BC will be put up for sale by the museums service of Northampton, it has been announced.

Northampton Borough Council owns the 4,000-year-old statue of Sekhemka and announced the decision it would be sold.

A number of local residents had protested against the statue's sale, saying it might result in the Museums Association discrediting the Conservative-run council.

Following a consultation period with the public, the council said any revenue from the statue's sale would fund other historical and heritage projects.

Some 71% of people taking part in the consultation said they wanted any revenue from the statue's sale to fund Northampton's museum and art gallery. The consultation involved 173 people, the council revealed.

"This would be a fantastic investment in our new Cultural Quarter and would enable us to better tell the story of our town," said Brandon Eldred, council cabinet member for community engagement.

He went on: "We recognise that the statue of Sekhemka is a valuable asset and appreciate that it is a significant Egyptian artefact.

"However, we care strongly about Northampton's culture and believe this is the right way to enable us to invest more in bringing the very best of our heritage to a wider audience."

The council had planned to plough any money raised by the statue into Northampton Museum, Delapre Abbey and Abington Park. The local authority has announced plans to consult with Arts Council England and the Museums Association on the potential of putting the statue up for auction.

Spencer Compton, the second Marquis of Northampton, was said to have acquired the statue while he was on a voyage to Egypt in 1850.

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