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Title: How to See the British Museum in Four Visits
Author: Jerrold, W. Blanchard, 1826-1884
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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     SOUTHERN ZOOLOGICAL ROOM.--Hoofed Animals:--Giraffe;
     Walrus; Rhinoceros; Buffalo; Antelope.

     SOUTHERN ZOOLOGICAL GALLERY.--Hoofed Animals:--Wild Ox;
     Hippopotamus; Elephant; Llama; Bison; Armadillo; Deer.

     MAMMALIA SALOON.--Bears; Monkeys; Cat Tribe; Dog Family;
     Bear Tribe; Mole Tribe; Marsupial Animals; Seal Tribe;

     EASTERN ZOOLOGICAL GALLERY.--Birds of Prey; Perching
     Birds; Scraping Birds; Wading Birds; Web-footed Birds.

     NORTHERN ZOOLOGICAL GALLERY.--Bats; Reptiles; Serpents;
     Tortoises; Crocodiles; Frogs.

     BRITISH ZOOLOGICAL ROOM.--Carnivorous Beasts; Glirine
     Beasts; Hoofed Beasts; Insectivorous Beasts; British
     Reptiles; British Fish.

     NORTHERN ZOOLOGICAL GALLERY--_(continued)_.--Spiny-finned
     Fishes; Soft-finned Fishes; Cartilaginous Fishes;
     Sponges; Shell-fish; The Beetle Tribe; Butterflies and Moths.

     EASTERN ZOOLOGICAL GALLERY.--Star-fish; Sea-eggs; Shells.


     Minerals; Fossil Animals; Fossil Fishes; Fossil Mammalia.

     THE EGYPTIAN ROOM.--Human Mummies; Animal Mummies;
     Sepulchral Ornaments; Egyptian Deities; Sacred
     Animals; Household Objects; Tools; Musical Instruments;
     Toys; Textile Fabrics.

     THE BRONZE ROOM.--Greek and Roman Bronzes.

     ETRUSCAN ROOM.--Etruscan Vases

     ETHNOGRAPHICAL ROOM.--Chinese Curiosities; Indian
     Curiosities; African Curiosities; American Curiosities


     EGYPTIAN SALOON.--Egyptian Sculpture; Egyptian
     Coffins; Egyptian Tombstones; Sepulchral Vases;
     Human Statues; Egyptian Sphinxes; Egyptian Frescoes.

     THE LYCIAN ROOM.--Lycian Tombs; Lycian Sculpture.

     THE NIMROUD ROOM.--Assyrian Sculpture.


     Townley Sculpture; Antiquities of Britain.

     PHIGALEIAN SALOON.--Battle with the Amazons.

     ELGIN SALOON.--Elgin Marbles; Metopes of the Parthenon;
     Eastern Frieze; Northern Frieze; Western Frieze;
     Southern Frieze; Eastern Pediment; Western Pediment;
     Temple of the Erectheum; Temple of Theseus;
     Lantern of Demosthenes.



The money to found a British Museum was raised by a lottery in the
middle of the last century. Sir Hans Sloane having offered his books
and museum of natural history to Parliament, for less than half its
value (20,000£.), it was purchased, together with the famous Harleian
and Cottonian MSS., and deposited in Montague House, Bloomsbury, which
had been bought of the Earl of Halifax, for the sum of 10,250£. Of the
present British Museum this beginning forms a very insignificant part.
The nucleus was established however; and soon eminent men, who valued
their literary and scientific collections as storehouses that should
be accessible to all classes of students, began to turn their
attention to the collections in Montague House. Foremost among the
donors George the Second should be mentioned, as having made over to
the nation the royal library, together with the right of demanding a
copy of every book entered at Stationers' Hall. Successively, the
libraries of Sir Joseph Banks, Dr. Birch, Sir John Hawkins, Dr. Burney
and Garrick, and the Royal, Arundel, Lansdowne, Bridgewater, and other
MSS. were added to the great store. Captain Cook returned home with
additions to the museum of natural history; Sir William Hamilton's
collection of vases was purchased in 1772; the spoils of Abercrombie's
Egyptian campaign enriched the museum with some fine Egyptian
antiquities; grants of money secured the Townley marbles, the
Phigalian sculptures, and at last the Elgin marbles; and of late, the
accessions to the vast collection, including Layard's treasures, the
Xanthian marbles, fossils, birds, curiosities, from the frozen seas,
China, the solitudes of Central Africa, and other remote places, where
scientific men have been of late prosecuting their studies have been
received. In 1823 it was allowed by Parliament that the collection had
grown too large for the house in which it was crammed; and accordingly
in this year it was resolved to destroy the old residence of the Earl
of Halifax, and build a new structure on its site. Sir Robert Smirke,
the architect of the present structure, has certainly had good cause
to complain of the niggardly supplies voted from time to time for the
building, which has been twenty-eight years in progress. The
regulations for the admission of the public have fairly kept pace with
the progress of those liberal ideas to which the collection is greatly
indebted, and of which it is a monument. It will be interesting for
the visitor of to-day, to contrast the rules by which he is admitted,
with those that fettered his ancestors of the eighteenth century. In
the year 1759, the trustees of this institution published their
"Statutes and Rules relating to the Inspection and Use of the British
Museum." This instructive document may now serve to illustrate the
darkness from which, even now, we are struggling. Those visitors who
now consider it rather an affront to be required to give up their cane
or umbrella at the entrance to our museums and galleries, will be
astonished to learn, that in the early days of the museum, those
persons who wished to inspect the national collection, were required
to make previous application to the porter, in writing, stating their
names, condition, and places of abode, as also the day and hour at
which they desired to be admitted. Their applications were written
down in a register, which was submitted every evening to the librarian
or secretary in attendance. If this official, judging from the
condition and ostensible character of an applicant, deemed him
eligible for admittance, he directed the porter to give him a ticket
on the following day. Thus the candidate for admission was compelled
to make two visits, before he could learn whether it was the gracious
will of a librarian or secretary that he should be allowed the
privilege of inspecting Sir Hans Sloane's curiosities. If successful,
his trouble did not end when he obtained the ticket; for it was
provided by the trustees that no more than ten tickets should be given
out for each hour of admittance. Accordingly, every morning on which
the museum was accessible, the porter received a company of ten
ticket-holders at nine o'clock, ushered them into a waiting-room "till
the hour of seeing the museum had come," to quote the words of the
trustees. This party was divided into two groups of five persons, one
being placed under the direction of the under-librarian, and the other
under that of the assistant in each department. Thus attended, the
companies traversed the galleries; and, on a signal being given by the
tinkling of a bell, they passed from one department of the collection
into another:--an hour being the utmost time allowed for the
inspection of one department. This system calls to mind the dragooning
practised in Westminster Abbey, under the command of the gallant
vergers, to the annoyance of leisurely visitors, and of ardent but not
active archaeologists. Sometimes, when public curiosity was
particularly excited, the number of respectable applicants for
admission to the museum exceeded the limit of the prescribed issue. In
these cases, tickets were given for remote days; and thus, at times,
when the lists were heavy, it must have been impossible for a passing
visitor in London to get within the gateway of Montague House. In
these old regulations the trustees provided also, that when any
person, having obtained tickets, was prevented from making use of them
at the appointed time, he was to send them back to the porter, in
order "that other persons wanting to see the museum might not be
excluded." Three hours was the limit of the time any company might
spend in the museum; and those who were so unreasonable or inquisitive
as to be desirous of visiting the museum more than once, might apply
for tickets a second time "provided that no person had tickets at the
same time for more than one." The names of those persons who, in the
course of a visit, wilfully transgressed any of the rules laid down by
the trustees, were written in a register, and the porter was directed
not to issue tickets to them again.

These regulations secured the exclusive attendance of the upper
classes. The libraries were hoarded for the particular enjoyment of
the worm, whose feast was only at rare intervals disturbed by some
student regardless of difficulties. To the poor, worn, unheeded
authors of those days, serenely starving in garrets, assuredly the
British Museum must have been as impenetrable as a Bastille. We
imagine the prim under-librarian glancing with a supercilious
expression upon the names and addresses of many poor, aspiring,
honourable men--men, whose "condition," to use the phrase of the
trustees, bespoke not the gentility of that vulgar age. In those days
the weaver and the carpenter would as soon have contemplated a visit
to St. James's Palace as have hoped for an admission ticket to the
national museum.

These mean precautions of the last century, contrast happily with the
enlightened liberty of this. Crowds of all ranks and conditions
besiege the doors of the British Museum, especially in holiday times,
yet the skeleton of the elephant is spotless, and the bottled
rattlesnakes continue to pickle in peace. The Elgin marbles have
suffered no abatement of their marvellous beauties; and the coat of
the cameleopard is with out a blemish. The Yorkshireman has his
unrestrained stare at Sesostris; the undertaker spends his holiday
over the mummies, and no official suppresses his professional
objections to the coffins. The weaver observes the looms of the olden
time: the soldier compares the Indian's blunt instrument with his own
keen and deadly bayonet. The poor needlewoman enjoys her laugh at the
rude sewing-instruments of barbarous tribes: the stone-mason perhaps
compares his tombs with the sarcophagi of ancient masters. No
attendant is deputed to dog the heels of five visitors and to watch
them with the cold eye of a gaoler; no bell warns the company from one
spot to another: all is open--free!

Through the bright new galleries of Sir Robert Smirke, crowded with
the natural productions of every clime, the printed thoughts of the
greatest and best men, the marvellous art of forgotten ages, and the
poor barbarisms of savage life, we propose to conduct the visitor, in



On arriving in front of the British Museum for the first time, the
visitor will not fail to notice the Grecian Ionic facade, ornamented
with forty-four columns, and rising at its extreme point to the height
of sixty-six feet. The sculpture which decorates the tympanum of the
portico is the work of Sir Richard Westmacott, and is an allegorical
representation of the progress of civilisation. The spiritual
influences that have successively worked upon the savage natures of
the dark ages, have here distinct types. Religion tames the savage;
Paganism makes him a crouching sensualist; the Egyptian sees a God in
the stars of heaven; and then the mathematician, the musician, the
poet, and the painter set to work, and these prophets of mysterious
beauties realise civilised mankind. The visitor enters the museum,
after ascending a noble flight of steps, by a massive carved oak door,
into a fine entrance hall, the ceiling of which is highly coloured,
and the general decoration of which is Grecian Ionic. Here he will
observe, in addition to one or two of the Nineveh sculptures, at once,
three statues: one of the aristocratic lady sculptor, the Honourable
Mrs. Damer; Chantrey's statue of Sir Joseph Banks; and Roubillac's
study of Shakspeare, presented to the museum by David Garrick. Before
entering the galleries of the museum the visitor should observe, that
the building faces the four points of the compass, and that the facade
forms the southern line. This observation will facilitate a careful
and regular examination of the interior. Branching westward from the
entrance hall, then eastward to the gallery, is a noble flight of
seventy steps, the walls of the staircase being richly inlaid with
marble. Having ascended this staircase, the visitor's attention is at
once arrested by two stuffed giraffes--the giraffe of North Africa,
and the giraffe of South Africa, given to the museum by the late Earl
of Derby. These striking zoological specimens at once introduce the
visitor to


which is devoted, together with the next room to the east, to Hoofed
Animals. Looking eastward from the western side of the room he will
observe at once that his way lies down a passage, marked on either
side by formidable zoological specimens, which he would rather meet,
with their present anatomy of hay, than in their natural condition. In
the first room, near the giraffes, stand the walrus of the North Sea;
the African rhinoceros; and the Manilla buffalo. He will next observe,
that the walls of the room are lined with glass cases, about twelve
feet in height, and that in these cases various stuffed animals are
grouped. The groups in this room include the varieties of the
Antelope, Sheep, and Goats. Grouped together in two or three cases,
are the sable and other antelopes from the Cape of Good Hope; the
algazelle, and the addax and its young from North Africa; the
sing-sing, and the koba from Western Africa; the sassaybi; the chamois
of the Alps--the subject of many a stirring mountain song; the goats
of North Africa; the strange Siberian ibex; the grue and gorgon from
the Cape; varieties of the domestic goat, and the beautiful Cashmere
goat. Here also are specimens of sheep, including the wild sheep from
the Altai; the bearded sheep of North Africa; the American arguli; the
nahorr and caprine antelopes from Nepal; and upon the higher shelves
of the cases are grouped the gazelles from Senegal, Nepal, and Madras,
whose praises have been sung more than once. The beauty and grace of
these delicate creatures, with their taper active limbs, and the soft
expression of their heads, may be faintly gathered even from these
inanimate stuffed skins with the glassy eyes instead of "the soft
blue" celebrated by the poet. Grouped hereabouts are also the
four-horned antelope of India; the pigmy antelope from the coast of
Guinea; and the madoka from Abyssinia. Before leaving this room, or
ante-room, to the great zoological sections of the museum, the visitor
should notice the varieties of horns,--straight and tortuous, but all
graceful,--of different kinds of hoofed animals.

Advancing eastward the visitor arrives in


Here the visitor is still in the midst of the hoofed beasts. The way
lies between two rows of animals. Of these the visitor should notice
particularly the wild oxen of India and Java; compare the Indian
rhinoceros with that of South Africa; and notice the hippopotamus
family, from South Africa, as well as a diminutive specimen of the
Indian elephant, and a half-grown elephant, from Africa. Having
noticed these ponderous creatures, the attention of the visitor will
be next attracted to the Llamas, which are arranged in the first two
wall-cases. Of these, the wild are generally brown, and the tame of
mixed colours. The next fourteen wall-cases are filled with specimens
of the different species of Oxen and the Elephant tribe. Among the
former the visitor should notice the white bulls of Scotland and
Poland: the splendid Lithuanian bison, with his shaggy throat, a
present from the Russian Emperor; the bison of the American prairies;
and the elando. The specimens of the elephant tribe, ranged in the
upper compartments of these cases, include the tapir of South America;
the tennu, from Sumatra; the European boar, with its young; the
Brazilian peccari: and other curious animals. Here, too, are specimens
of the Armadillo tribe. The attention of the visitor will, however, be
soon riveted upon an animal which, with the beak of a duck and the
claws of a bird, has the body of an otter. In Australia (its native
country) this singular animal is commonly called a water mole, but to
scientific men it is known as the mullingong; it is placed in the same
order with its neighbour, the spring-ant or echidra, also a native of
Australia. Before leaving these cases, the visitor should pause to
notice the Sloths, and particularly the repulsive aspect of the
yellow-faced sloth of South America.

The visitor should now pass to the cases marked from 17 to 30. These
are devoted to the Horse tribe and Deer. Here the reindeer from
Hudson's Bay, the red fallow deer of Europe, the elk, and the cheetul
of India, will catch the eye immediately. The beautiful South African
zebra is here also, grouped near the Asiatic wild ass, and the
Zoological Society's hybrids of the zebra, wild ass, and common
donkey. The upper shelves of the cases are devoted, as usual, to the
smaller specimens of the tribe below. Here are the European roebuck,
the West African water musk, the Javan musk, the white-bellied and
golden-eyed musk. Having examined these zoological specimens, the
visitor should proceed on his way east to


This saloon is one of the most interesting parts of the exhibition to
the general visitor, as he sees here at a glance the various classes
of the highest order of the animal creation, all grouped after their
kinds, and in that gradation of development which nature has assigned
them. Those specimens which are placed on the floor in the central
space of the room include some large varieties of the Bears, and a few
small specimens of Seals, including the young of the harp seal, with
the white fur, which clothes them on their first appearance in the
world, and the young of the Cape of Good Hope eared seal; but these
isolated specimens should not engage the attention of the visitor
before he has followed the systematic arrangement or classification
adopted with regard to the animals deposited in the wall-cases that
line the saloon. The first series or family of animals to which,
according to Cuvier, his particular attention should be attracted are


ranged in the first eleven wall-cases. These cases contain the species
of monkeys found in the Old World. The varieties in colour, shape,
size, and attitude, are endless. Here are the green monkeys from
Western Africa; the white-throated monkey from India; the bearded
monkey, with a republican air about him; and the monkey who appears to
have had his ears pulled, but is in reality known to scientific men as
the red-eared monkey; both from Fernando Po: the Risley of monkeys,
called the vaulting monkey, with his white nose; and the talapoin,
from Western Africa; the gaudy macaque, known as the brilliant from
Japan; that dingy gentleman, the sooty mangabey, from Africa: the
African chimpanzee (to whom satirical gentlemen with a turn for
zoological comparisons, are greatly indebted); the ourang-outan, with
his young, from Borneo; the presbytes, dusky and starred, from
Singapore, Malacca, and Borneo; and the drill and mandrill, from
Africa. The Monkeys of the New World are grouped in six cases (12-18).
Herein the visitor should particularly notice the curious spider
monkeys, from Brazil and Bolivia: the negro monkey; the apes, with
large eyes, like those of the owl, called night apes; the howlers, so
called from the incessant howling they maintain at night in their
native forests; the quaint marmozettes and handsome silky monkeys; and
the Jew monkeys. The next two cases contain specimens of the lemurs,
more familiarly known as Madagascar monkies. Of these the flying lemur
is the most remarkable species. Specimens of this species are grouped
in the lower part of the cases; they are from the Indian Archipelago;
and in the texture of their skin and the loose and light way in which
it connects their limbs, they resemble bats. They nurse their young by
forming a kind of couch with their body suspended downwards from the
branches of a tree.

It now remains for the visitor to direct his attention to the fine
collection of


ranged in thirty-two distinct wall-cases in this room. The first
tribe, taking the cases in their order of succession, to which the
visitor's attention will be attracted on passing from the cases of
lemurs, is


The animals which he will find grouped in the first seven cases
(21-27) are properly Cats. Here is the South African lion, the fine
black leopard, which is pointed out to visitors as a beast that killed
its keeper; the lynxes of Spain, Sardinia, and America; the wild cats
of Europe; the curious booted-cat, imported from the Cape of Good
Hope; the American ocelots; and the Asiatic and African chaus. These
animals are picturesquely grouped in seven cases. In the next case, in
order of succession (28), are the hyaenas of South Africa and Egypt.
Here are the spotted hyaena, with its young; and the striped hyaena.
The three following cases are filled with varieties of the civet
family (esteemed for the strong scent which some of them, as the
African cibet and the Chinese and Indian zibet, yield), including the
hyaena civet from the Cape of Good Hope: genets and ichneumons, which
will be found on the lower shelves; and the Mexican house-marten. The
five following cases are filled with the varieties of


Here the sporting visitor may amuse himself by examining the points of
the Dogs of the four quarters of the globe. Here are the well-known
Newfoundland dog, the wild dogs of different climates, the four-toed
hunting dog of Abyssinia and South Africa, the Cape of Good Hope dog,
with its long ears; the varieties of fox and wolf; all expressing
great activity and extraordinary cunning. Ladies will be pleased to
notice a lap-dog almost hidden by his long hair, placed under a
particular glass-case: this exclusive little aristocrat is from

In the next case to which the visitor will direct his attention (38)
are grouped the varieties of the Mustelina, or Martens, of America and
Europe. These lesser specimens of the cat tribe, include the weasels
of Himalaya, Mexico, and Siberia; the American and European polecats:
the lesser otters, from the north of America and Europe; and the
curious animal known as the false sable of America. It is amusing to
notice the sameness of expression--that of cunning--shown in the heads
of every specimen of the cat tribe. The next case (39) introduces the
visitor to those mammalia which are included in


This tribe includes the Racoons, Otters, Badgers, Skunks, Gluttons,
and Bears. The case to which the visitor's attention is now directed,
contains the varieties of the glutton family--the Chinese musk weasel;
the European and North American badgers; the Javan stinkard, and the
American skunks and conepats.

The next case (40) is devoted to the otter family. These ingenious
animals are found in the four quarters of the world. Here are the
common European otter; the otters of Java and India; the clawless
African otter, from the Cape of Good Hope; and the sea and muffled
otters, from America. Next to these interesting animals, are some of
the bears, including the savage Arctic white bear, the Malay bear, and
the Indian sloth bear. Next to these bears, the racoons are grouped,
and they close the collection illustrative of the bear tribe. In the
case following those which contain the racoons is one (43) in which
the varieties of


are arranged. These include Moles from the four quarters of the world.
There are the North American marsh moles and long-tailed star-nosed
moles; the golden moles, from the Cape of Good Hope; the varieties of
the shrew-mouse, including the remarkable blue shrew-mouse of India,
the African elephant shrew, and the Russian musk shrew; the Javan
insectivorous squirrel; and a curious variety of hedgehogs, from
opposite quarters of the globe. Having examined these inferior
mammalia, the visitor will pass in direct order of succession to the
cases in which


are deposited. These fill nine wall-cases, and they should be
carefully examined, as exhibiting a peculiar economy of animal life.
The marsupial animals are placed by some zoologists in the lowest
class of mammalia. They include carnivorous, herbivorous, and
insectivorous families, and their head-quarters appear to be
Australia. In the first two cases (44, 45) which the visitor will
examine, are the varieties of Australian phalangers; and here also are
the New Holland bears, the Australian wombat, the flying squirrel of
Norfolk Island, the flying phalangers; and in the right corner of the
case are grouped those notable animals to which public curiosity has
of late years been so keenly directed--the kangaroos. In the next five
cases (46-51) the visitor will find more varieties of these strange,
awkward-looking creatures. Here amid the kangaroos of Australia are
the long-nosed, rock, and jerboa kangaroos, the New Guinea
tree-kangaroo, and below, the Australian koala. The two next cases
(52, 53) contain the varieties of Australian opossums, and below are
the opossums of America.

These close the attractions of the wall-cases, and the visitor should
now glance round the saloon at the specimens of the varieties of


which are arranged along the tops of the wall-cases. These include the
leonine seal of the Southern Ocean, the Cape porpoise and dolphin, and
the long-beaked dolphin of the Ganges. Having noticed these specimens,
the visitor should proceed to examine the extensive collection of


which are arranged upon the central tables of the saloon. To explain
the presence of coral in the midst of a zoological collection it is
necessary to remind the visitor that this beautiful substance, which
is chiefly a deposit of carbonate of lime, is also the fossil remains
of that animal known to zoologists as the polypus. These polypi put
forth buds, which remain attached to the parental polypus, and
generate other buds; and in this way countless polypi, linked
together, yet maintaining a separate and distinct existence, spread
themselves over miles and miles of submarine rocks, in endless
varieties of shape, and leave their remains to be dredged by the hardy
fisherman, for the adornment of beauty. These beautiful polypi
skeletons cluster in curious formations, as the visitor will perceive
on examining the fine collection of corals before him.[1] Among the
remarkable coral formations to which the general visitor's attention
may be directed, are the sea-mushroom, the remains of a single polypus
of great size; the brainstone, which presents a circular mass of long
winding cells, and altogether has the appearance of the masses and
veins of the brain; the sea-pen, and the sea-fan. In the cases, ranged
together in the saloon, the visitor who feels interested in the
infinite varieties of coral formation, will find specimens that-will
give him a full idea of the architectural abilities of the active
zoophytes that carry on their operations upon the rocks that lie not
far below the surface of the ocean. From the coral tables, the
visitor's way lies out of the Mammalia Saloon to the north, into a
gallery of which all Englishmen who understand the value of a perfect
museum, are justly proud.


of the British Museum runs the entire length of the building. It is
divided into five compartments, and its space is devoted to the
display of Birds, Shells, and a few Paintings. The birds exhibited in
this gallery fill no less than one hundred and sixty-six wall-cases;
and the shells which are distributed throughout the central space
occupy fifty large tables: the lesser tables which are placed here and
there near the birds, being devoted to the display of birds' eggs. The
pictures are hung above the wall-cases. This general glance at the
arrangement of the gallery, will prevent the visitor from falling into
the error of distracting his attention from one order of zoological
development to another at frequent intervals. Already he has examined
the various species of animal life which rank in the highest
class--the mammalia. Before him now, are ranged vast numbers of the
second class of animal life; and he will do well to pay these some
attention, and to get definite impressions regarding them, before he
turns to the other attractions which the museum offers. Before
proceeding to examine the first order of birds which are in the first
eastern room, the visitor should glance at the historical portraits
suspended above the cases. Among them he will find a Mary Queen of
Scots, by Cornelius Jansen; a Cromwell, presented by the Protector to
Colonel Rich of the parliamentary forces, by whose great-grandson it
was bequeathed to the trustees of the museum; William Duke of
Cumberland by Morier; Zucchero's Queen Elizabeth; Sir Peter Lely's
Charles the Second; and the Queen of George the Second by Jarvis.
Having sufficiently examined these works, the visitor should at once
begin his inspection of the Raptores or


These include some splendid ornithological specimens. They are divided
into two families: those who pursue their depredations by day; and
those which wait till night cloaks their proceedings. It is almost
possible to read the special instincts of the two families in their
formation, and expression. The daring expressed in the fierce glances
of the eagles and falcons, bespeaks the fearless spoliator, in broad
daylight and in the face of an enemy; whereas the large vacant eyes of
the owls, have a cruel, coward look, that stamps the midnight

In the first case the visitor will notice the strongbearded vulture of
the Alpine and Himalayan mountains. The next six cases (2-7) are
filled with the varieties of the Vulture, including the American,
carrion, black, and king vultures; the South African sociable vulture;
the angola vulture from Congo; and, towering above all, the great
condor of the Andes, with his immense breadth of wing. The vultures,
with their fierce and cruel aspect, are, nevertheless, cowardly birds,
and feed rather upon dead bodies than venture to kill for themselves.

Next in order, after the vultures, the visitor will find the Eagle
branch of the falcon family distributed in ten cases (8-17). This
family includes some handsome birds. Foremost amongst these the
visitor will remark the athletic golden eagle of Europe, a frequenter
of Great Britain. This bird preys upon hares and rabbits, and has been
known to plant its claws in a young lamb with success. In this
vicinity are also the Indian Pondicherry eagle, sacred to the
Brahmins; the Egyptian booted eagle; the Brazilian eagle; the South
American harpy eagle; the European Jean le Blanc eagle; the marine
eagle of the Indian Archipelago; the South American crested goshawk;
the varieties of the osprey; and the short-tailed falcon from the Cape
of Good Hope. Next after the eagles, are ranged the Kites and Buzzards
(18-24). These include the South American caracaras; the European
rough-legged falcon; the European kite; the Indian colny falcon;
varieties of the honey buzzard; and the North American spotted-tailed
hobby. The true falcons follow next in order of succession (24-26).
The courage of these birds is familiar to all who have read of the
hunting days of old. In the cases before the visitor, are grouped the
European hobby and kestrel, and the peregrine and jet falcons. Many
visitors from the country will be familiar with some of the
sparrow-hawks in the next case (27). They may be often seen sweeping
swiftly along near the earth, intent upon their prey. The last cases
of diurnal birds of prey (28-30) contain the Harriers. These are birds
of prey that meet their victims on the ground, and frequent bog-lands.
The specimens here presented, include the secretary of the Cape of
Good Hope; the chanting falcon from the same region; the ash-coloured
falcon, hen-harrier, and Madagascar falcon.

And now, proceeding on his easterly way, the visitor approaches the
Birds that Prey by Night. They are solemnly assembled in five cases.
Their reputed wisdom has its parallel in the human family: we also
have our owls, with their large eyes and solemn demeanour, who cheat
people into the idea that there must be something in all that
solemnity and gravity of expression. Poets of the dismal school,
however, owe a great debt of gratitude to these mysterious and
unsociable birds. The visitor will at once call to mind the usual
sequel of poems that open with the hooting of the owl, or with the
intimation that it is the hour when the wise bird opens his eyes with
some effect. Let us glance at the varieties of the dismal family
before which we have brought the visitor. Here are the snowy owl of
North America and the hawk owls. In the cases (32, 33) are grouped the
eagle owls, including the great-eared owls, and the North American
Virginian eared owl. The next two cases contain the howlets, including
the Tengmalm's owl of the north of Europe; the Javan bay owl, and the
barn white owls of various countries. These birds close the collection
of birds of prey; and the visitor, refraining from the temptation to
inspect the central tables, for the present, should advance into the
room, the wall-cases of which are filled with


The perching birds are subdivided into five families: the Wide-gaping;
the Slender-Beaked; the Toothed-Beaked; the Cone-Beaked; and the
Climbers, or Scansores. The family of wide-gaping birds, is that
ranged first in order, occupying cases 36 to 42. The visitor will
first remark the goatsuckers with their wide bills and large eyes,
adapted to catch the insects on which they feed. The varieties here
collected, include the great goatsucker; the goatsuckers of Europe,
New Holland, North America, and Africa; and the wedge-tailed
goatsucker. The next case (38) contains specimens of the varieties of
Swallows and Swifts, including those of North America; the esculent
swallow of the Indian Archipelago; and the sandmartin of Europe. In
the two following cases (39, 40) are grouped the varieties of the tody
and broadbills, from the West Indies, and Brazil; and the curncuis
from the southern parts of Asia and America. The visitor next arrives
before two cases (41, 42) of birds of brilliant plumage, suggestive of
the regions where the humming birds float in the air "like winged
flowers." The kingfisher at times startles the English pedestrian when
he is sauntering near a high-banked brook;--its gaudy plumage
contrasts so forcibly with the sober tints of our English song birds,
that he is at first inclined to take the gay fellow for a truant cage
bird. But the fisher is quite at home, and is probably diving for his
fish dinner. The kingfishers grouped in the two cases before which the
visitor now stands, include specimens of the Australian brown
kingfisher; the green and great jacamars of South America; the
European bee eater; the Javan night bird; and the Ternate kingfisher
from the Philippine Islands. Having feasted his eyes upon the gaudy
colours of these feathered fishermen, the visitor will find in the
next case (43) the first specimens of the slender-beaked perching
birds. These slender beaks are divided into sub-families of Sun Birds;
Humming Birds; Honey Eaters; and the Creepers, &c. The sun birds live
upon the pollen of flowers. The specimens here grouped together,
include the numerous species of African and South American sun birds;
the paradise birds of Molucca; the promerops of New Guinea and Africa;
the Sandwich Islands honey eater; and the Australian rifle bird. Next
in order are grouped the famous American humming birds (44). These
brilliant little creatures, not larger than moths, are famed for their
beauty all over the world. The delicacy of their structure, the
splendour of the colours in which they are habited, their poetical
diet, and the impossibility of keeping them alive in a confined state,
are the attributes of delicacy and beauty which have made them objects
of interest to all persons who have any insight to the mysterious
graces of animal organisation. So brilliant is the plumage of some of
the varieties, that they have been named after gems: thus, in the case
before which the visitor has arrived, he will find the garnet-throated
humming bird, and the topaz humming bird. Next to these brilliant
creatures of the south, in case 45 are the curious Australian honey
eaters, with their feathered tongues, made to brush the sweet essences
from flowers: and the two following cases contain the remaining
varieties of the slender-beaked family. Here are the Creepers of
Europe; the Nuthatches of North America and Europe; varieties of the
Wren; and the Warblers of Guiana and Patagonia. The visitor next
approaches the varieties of the family known as the tooth-beaked
perching birds. To this family our choicest songsters belong. They
fill five cases (48-52). The visitor will observe in the first of the
four cases, the tailor birds, remarkable for the fantastic domes they
form to their nests; the Australian superb warbler; and the Dartford
warbler of Europe. The common song birds of Europe are grouped here,
including blackcaps, wrens, the active little titmice, together with
the North American wood warblers. Next to these are cases (53-55) of
Thrushes, including the tropical ant thrushes; the Javan mountain
warbler; the Brazilian king thrush; the rock thrushes: the imitative
Australian thrush; the blackbird; the North American mimic thrush; the
Chinese and South American thrushes, celebrated for their babbling;
the yellow orioles, of Europe and the east; and here also are the
short-legged thrushes of the tropics.

The two next cases (56, 57) contain the Flycatchers, which catch
insects on the wing. The varieties to be seen here include the South
American pikas and shrikes, with their gay plumage. These
shrikes[2]--better known as butcher-birds--are so called from the
cruelty with which they treat their prey. In the second case of
flycatchers are grouped the true flycatchers, which are mostly from
the old world; those from America being the solitary flycatcher, the
black-headed flycatcher, the king and broad-billed tody, and the
white-eared thrush. In the two next cases (58, 59) are the families of
the Chatterers, with their resplendent plumage. In the first case, are
groups of the Asiatic and American thick-heads, and the gorgeous
little Manakins of South America and Australia. They are called after
their colours, as the speckled manakin, the white-capped South
American manakin, the purple-breasted, variegated, purple-throated,
and rock manakins. Next to the manakins, are the Indian, African, and
American caterpillar eaters; the Malabar and African shrikes; and in
the two last cases of the tooth-beaked group, are placed the true
butcher-birds and bush shrikes.

The next group of perching birds are the cone-beaked. This group
includes the large family of the Crows to which the birds of paradise
of New Guinea are allied; that of the Finches, with their relations
from every clime; and the Hornbills, remarkable for the size and
strength of their bills. The first two cases (62, 63) devoted to this
group, contain the varieties of the Crow family. Here the visitor
should notice the finely-marked jays from various parts of the world;
the noisy and piping rollers of Australia and New Guinea; the crows,
rooks, and jackdaws from various parts of Europe; the New Zealand
wattle bird; the African changeable crow; and the rufous crow of
India. The next case (64) is bright with the gleaming plumage of the
New Guinea crows, or birds of paradise; and here, too, are the curious
grakles--the foetid and the bare-necked from South America; and the
Alpine and red-legged crows, or choughs, of elevated lands. Next in
succession is a case (65) in which are grouped the shining thrushes of
Australia, Asia, and Africa, which include the ingenious and tasteful
satin bower birds, that form decorated bowers of twigs and shells to
sport in; and here amid the grakles of the Indian Archipelago will be
found those curious birds, that gather their sustenance from insect
larvas which secrete in the coarse skin of the rhinoceros: these birds
are known under the name of African beef-eaters. The Starlings, which
are also of the crow family, are grouped in the case (66) next to that
in which the visitor found the beef-eaters and shining thrushes. They
resemble the beef-eaters closely in their mode of life, like them
deriving their food from the insect life that congregates upon various
kinds of cattle. Starlings are found in all the quarters of the globe,
and present many varieties, as the observer of the case under notice
will see. Here are the rose-coloured thrushes of Europe; the grakles
of Malabar, India, South Africa, and South America; and the stares of
America and Europe. The next case contains the varieties of the
American Icteric Orioles, which lay their eggs in the nests of other
birds, like the cuckoo. Among the varieties, the visitor should notice
the red-winged, crested, and banana orioles. The African and Indian
Weavers, so called from the peculiar construction of their nests,
occupy the case (68) next to that filled by the orioles. Here are also
the African, European, and American grosbeaks, so christened from that
strength of bill which enables them to demolish hard fruits. Among
these are the African widow birds; the Galapagos ground sparrows. The
beauty of the Tanagers of North and South America is well known. In
order of succession they here follow the grosbeaks (68, 69), and
present a brilliant group, including the golden tanager, the
red-breasted, the summer, and the bishop. And then the Finches, in all
their varieties of colour and size, occupy two cases (69, 70). Here,
among the more sober and unassuming of the numerous family, the
visitor will notice the common sparrow that chirps cheerfully through
the smoke of London alleys; the brown linnet with its lively notes;
the gayer goldfinches, greenfinches, chaffinches, the North American
songfinch, and the many varieties of the buntings, including the
epicure's ortolans that are found in various parts of the world. Next
in order to the finches, the Larks are grouped in a single case (71)
with other varieties of the great finch family. These birds sing as
they soar into the air; and on cloudless days, how often do the happy
notes of the skylark come down to the wanderer upon earth, with a
cheerful influence:--

     "... The lark that sings in heaven
     Builds its nest upon the ground."

Here, with the larks, are several curious birds, including the
crossbeaks of Europe, the grosbeak of the South Sea Islands, the plant
cutters of South America, and the colies of India and the Cape, that
sleep in companies each suspended by one foot. The two last cases of
the cone-beaked perching birds, are devoted to those birds known
collectively as Hornbills, from the size and formation of their bills.
These remarkable birds are said to be another off-shoot of "the great
corvine nest;" and the author of "The Vestiges of Creation" regards
the hollow protuberance upon the upper mandible (which is the
distinguishing feature of the family), as "a sounding-board to
increase the vociferation which these birds delight to utter." The
remarkable varieties in the cases, are the helmet hornbill of India,
and the African rhinoceros hornbill. These birds prey upon small birds
and reptiles, which they toss into the air and then swallow whole.

The Scansores, or Climbers, form the last section of the perching
birds. This is an interesting group, since it includes all the
varieties of the parrot, cockatoo, and macaw species; the woodpeckers,
the toucans, and the cuckoos.

The visitor will arrive first before the three cases (74-76) devoted
to the Parrots, Cockatoos, and Macaws. The gaudy colours which they
display, and their well-known habits and powers, always ensure them a
large circle of spectators. Here the visitor should notice the
red-crowned parrot, and ground parrot of Australia; the South American
yellow-headed, and hawk-headed parrots; the horned parrot from New
Caledonia and the racket-tailed parrot of the Philippines. Among the
Macaws are the hyacinthine macaw of South America, and the blue and
yellow varieties. Among the Cockatoos, the visitor should notice the
great white cockatoo from the Indian Archipelago; and here also are
the Alexandrine parroquet and the Papuan lory. The Toucans, which
inhabit the deep recesses of tropical American forests, here occupy
the next case (77). They are recognised as a branch of the great
corvine family. Their enormous beaks are peculiarly adapted for
searching in quest of eggs about the crevices of trees. The varieties
here, include the Janeiro toucan, and the yellow-breasted toucan. The
three next cases contain the many varieties of the Woodpecker.
Woodpeckers are represented by naturalists as crows with a structure
adapted to "an insect-eating life amidst growing timber." They are to
be found in all quarters of the globe, searching out, with their long
beaks, the minute life that gathers in the interstices of trees. The
first case of the series, contains the South American and African
barbets, and the groove-billed barbican; the minute woodpecker, the
North American three-toed and white-billed woodpecker, and the spotted
woodpecker common in Europe. In the second case are the larger
varieties of the woodpecker, including the well-known great black
woodpecker of Europe; the North American red-headed woodpecker, and
the South American yellow-crested variety; the Carolina woodpecker;
and the Cayenne woodpecker. The third case contains the African and
American ground woodpeckers; and the Wrynecks of Africa, Europe, and
India. The chief food of the wrynecks consists of ants, which they
pick up with their delicately tapered tongues.

The three last cases devoted to perching birds, are occupied by the
varieties of the Cuckoo family. In this country, the notes of the
cuckoo are hailed as the announcement of the dawning summer; and the
solitary and peculiar habits of the bird, but particularly its custom
of placing its eggs in the nests of larks, finches, sparrows, &c., and
so getting alien birds to bring up its young, have always made it an
object of particular curiosity to people generally. This latter custom
has been explained, by a high authority, thus:--"The fact is, that the
cuckoo is obliged by its constitutional character to stay an unusually
short time in the northern regions where it produces its young. In our
country its normal stay is only from the middle of April to the
beginning of July. Belated in its approach to the nursing regions, it
is obliged to make use of the nests of other birds, which it finds
ready built. What is worthy of notice, it employs the nests of its own
nearest relations, the larks, pipits, finches, sparrows, &c.--an
arrangement we may suppose to be connected in some way with the early
history of the whole group of species--a family or clan sacrifice, as
it were, for the benefit of a less fortunate member."[3] In the first
case of cuckoos, are the African honey cuckoos, and the South American
rain cuckoos. The birds of the former of these varieties are noted for
guiding depredators to the wild honeycombs; and the latter live upon
insects, snakes, and fruits. Here too are the Coucals of Africa, Java,
South America, and Australia, including the Australian giant coucal,
the Asiatic, South American, and West Indian anis; and the two cuckoos
of the tropics, including the gilded cuckoo, the greatspotted cuckoo,
and white-crested cuckoo from Africa, and the common European cuckoo.
Before leaving the region devoted to perching birds, the visitor
should glance at a few of the pictures which are suspended above the
cases in this compartment. They include, amongst various portraits of
British Museum donors, three of Sir Hans Sloane, one by Murray; Robert
Earl of Oxford, by Sir Godfrey Kneller; and Edward Earl of Oxford, by

The visitor's way now lies to the north, into the third, or central
compartment of the gallery, the wall cases of which contain the
gallinaceous, or


This order is divided into four distinct families--the Pigeons, the
Curassows, the Pheasants, and the Grouse and Partridge tribe. Of these
families the museum contains a fine and complete collection. The
beauty of the pheasant family--its varieties ranging from the gaudy
splendour of the peacock to the more modest beauty of the common
hen--are here fully represented.

In the first case (84) of Scraping Birds, are grouped the Asiatic,
African, and Australian tree pigeons, which inhabit the woods, and
live on berries and various kinds of seeds. The collection includes
the Javan black-capped pigeon, and the parrot and aromatic pigeons of
India. The two next cases (85, 86) are filled with the true pigeons
and turtles of various parts of the world, in all their varieties--the
Indian nutmeg pigeon, and the Australian antarctic pigeon. The next
case is devoted to the common European turtle and the North American
migratory pigeon. The next case is filled with the varieties of the
ground Dove, among which the visitor should notice the ground turtle,
the West Indian partridge pigeon, the great crowned pigeon of the
Indian Isles, and the bronze-winged pigeon of Australia. Leaving the
pigeons behind, the visitor's attention is next called to the two
cases of Curassows (89, 90), the poultry peculiar to South America.
They feed on fruit, worms, and insects; and live in small flocks. The
curassows are followed by the varieties of the pheasant tribe, grouped
in thirteen cases (91-103). The three first cases are given up to the
splendid East Indian Pheasants known to Europeans generally, as
peacocks. They were brought to the west and valued for the beauty of
their plumage many centuries before the Christian era, and no doubt
helped to inflame the imagination of the Mediterranean merchants who
dreamt of the untold wealth of the Indies. The specimens of these
birds here preserved, are fine samples of the species. They include
the iris and crested peacocks, the Japan peacock, the Thibet
crossoptilon, and the Argus pheasant. The two following cases (94, 95)
of the pheasant family contain the varieties of true Asiatic
pheasants; but the visitor's attention will be immediately riveted
upon the specimens of the splendid Chinese pheasant known as Reeves'
Chinese pheasant. The plumage of this pheasant is very beautiful, the
feathers of the tail measuring sometimes between five and six feet in
length. The three following cases (96-98) are filled with varieties of
the pheasant from Indian climes. In the first case are the pheasants
from the Himalayan Mountains, and the pencilled variety from China. In
the third case the visitor should notice the handsome fire-backed
pheasant of Sumatra, the superb pheasant, Sonnerat's wild cock, and
the cock of Java. The two following cases (99, 100) contain the
remainder of the pheasant varieties. Amongst these the visitor will
find, the horned and black-headed pheasants of India, the American
turkey, the pintados of Africa and Guinea, and the pheasants from the
north of Asia that live upon bulbous roots, known as the Impeyan
pheasants. The immediate successors of the pheasants, in point of
order, are the Partridges, of which the collection contains three
cases (101-103). These birds inhabit both hemispheres, and specimens
of the different varieties are grouped in the cases. In the first case
the visitor should notice the Currie partridge, from Nepal, the Cape
and bare-necked partridges of Africa, and the sanguine pheasant; in
the second case, the common European partridge and quail, the red
European partridge, the Indian olive partridge, and the Andalusian
quail; in the third and last partridge case, Californian and crested
quails, and the Indian crowned partridge. Next in order are the
Grouse, grouped in two cases (104, 105). In the first of these cases
the visitor will notice the wood grouse of Scotland, and the ruffed
and other grouse of America; in the second case, the sand-grouse of
the scorching deserts. The last case of the scraping birds is occupied
by the Sheathbills, which, as the visitor will perceive, closely
resemble grouse. They are from South America; the tinamous, from the
warmer parts of the Continent; and the megapodius, of Australia and
the Asiatic islands.

It now remains for the visitor to notice a few of the paintings
suspended in this compartment, above the wall cases. These paintings
include a copy of Klingstad's portrait of Peter I. of Russia, three
historical portraits, presented to the museum by the Rev. A. Planta,
and a hunting scene by Geo. B. Weenix.

The visitor should now advance into the fourth compartment of the
gallery, the wall-cases of which are devoted to the specimens of


Most interesting families of birds are included in this order. First,
there are the Ostriches, which are the envy of all people cursed with
weak digestive powers; then there is the Dodo, with its mysterious and
half-told history; also the Bustards, the Coursers, the Plovers, the
Cranes, the Storks, the Sandpipers, the Snipes, &c. These varieties of
wading birds are carefully classed, and represented in the compartment
of the gallery to which the visitor has now worked his way. First in
the order of arrangement stand the ostriches, occupying the cases
(107, 109). Some naturalists refuse to class ostriches with the order
of wading birds, and elevate them to the dignity of a distinct order,
Cursores, or runners; but in the museum, as the visitor will perceive,
they are at the head of the wading order. Unscientific people know
more about the ostrich than about most other birds of foreign climes.
Few people have not heard that the egg of the ostrich weighs three
pounds--that the sun is the bird's Cantelo--that he has only two toes
to each foot--that he sometimes exceeds six feet in height--and that
it would not be an act of madness to back a stout specimen, for speed,
against an average horse. The digestion of the ostrich has been
considerably strengthened in the minds of unscientific persons by
imaginative travellers; the fact being that these birds live upon
vegetable food, occasionally swallowing stones, or a bit of iron, in
aid of that digestion which has been so misrepresented. In the cases
before the visitor are the African ostrich, and his relations, the
Australian cassowary, and the American emu--all characterised by the
absence of a hind toe. Having noticed these fine birds, the visitor
will be anxious to learn something of the mysterious case (108), which
contains a foot, the cast of a skull, and a painting. Here he sees all
that has yet been traced of the extinct dodo, a bird which is believed
to have existed in vast numbers up to a recent period, chiefly on the
Bourbon and Mauritius islands. The painting is said to be an authentic
Dutch performance, taken from the living bird at the time when the
Cape of Good Hope was doubled by adventurous men heated with
exaggerated notions of the exhaustless wealth of the Indies. Its
precise position among birds has not been finally assigned. It appears
to have been incapable of flight, to have had a vulture's head, and
the foot of a common fowl. It is conjectured that the race was
extinguished by the rapacity of the first settlers in the Mauritius,
who, finding the dodo excellent eating and an easy prey, demolished
every specimen of the species. Near these wrecks of the dodo, and in
the same case, is the New Zealand wingless bird, now almost extinct,
but to scientific men an interesting link between the bird and the
mammalia. The Bustards occupy the two next cases (110, 111) to which
the visitor should direct his attention. Here are the two bustards of
the eastern hemisphere, the great European bustard, the African ruffed
and white-eared bustards, and the Arabian bustard. The next case (112)
contains the varieties of wading birds called, from their power of
running, Coursers. These are chiefly found in Africa; but the
varieties in the case include, in addition to the North African
cream-coloured courser, and the double-collared courser, the
thick-kneed European bustard. The Plovers are arranged next in order
to the coursers. The varieties included in the case (113) are from
Africa, North America, and Europe. Here are, amongst others, the
beautiful golden-ringed and dotterel plovers of Europe, and the
American noisy plover. In the case which next claims attention (114)
are the turnstones, that turn stones on the sea-shore in search of
food; the oyster catchers, that wrench shell fish from their shells;
and the South American gold-breasted and other trumpeters. The Cranes,
of which there is an extensive collection, now claim the visitor's
attention. They are from all parts of the world, and love the borders
of rivers and lakes, where they can prey upon small reptiles and fish.
In the first cases (115-118) are the true cranes, including the common
European variety, the Indian crane, the South American caurale snipe,
the common and purple-crested herons of Europe, the Pacific heron, the
crowned heron, the North American great heron, and the African
demoiselle heron. In the two following cases (120, 121) the visitor
will find the American blue heron, and the great and little egrets;
and in the next two cases given to the crane family (122, 123) are the
bittern and little bittern of Europe, the American lineated bittern,
the squacco and night herons of Europe, the American night heron, the
European spoonbill, and the South American cinereous boatbill. The
examination of these varieties will give the visitor a clear idea of
the peculiarities of birds that frequent marshes and the borders of

The next case to which the visitor will direct his steps, is that
(124) in which the Storks of Europe and America, including the white
and black varieties, are grouped. In the case next in order of
succession to that given to the storks (125) are some interesting
branches of the crane family, including the Indian gigantic crane.
Here also are the jabirus of America and Senegal, and the
North-American ibis, which will introduce the spectator to the case of
ibises, among which is the sacred ibis of the Egyptians; the
black-headed Indian ibis; and that of New Holland. Next, in order
(127), are the Godwits, which follow the mild seasons from one country
to another; among them are the English red godwit; and the Australian
terek snipe. In the next case (128) the visitor should examine the
varieties of Snipes and Sand-pipers it contains. These birds hunt
their food in gravel and amid stones in most localities. The most
remarkable of the group are the lanky avoçets, with their long legs
adapted to hunt rivers for fish spawn and water insects: among them,
the long-legged plover should be noticed. The varieties of the
sand-piper, in the next case (129), now claim a careful inspection.
Sand-pipers inhabit various parts of the world, and, like the ibises,
love the neighbourhood of water, where they seek the food congenial to
them. The Phalaropes, which are also represented in this case, are
natives of the eternal ice of the arctic regions, where they subsist
upon crustacea. The visitor passes from the sand-pipers to the case of
Snipes (130), including the British varieties, and the snipe of India.
In the next case (131) the visitor should notice the Chinese and South
American jacanas, that walk about unconcernedly upon the floating
leaves of water plants; with these are grouped the South American
Screamers. The three last cases devoted to wading birds, contain the
varieties of the British and North American Rails: the varieties of
the Gallinule, including the European purple gallinule, the South
American variety, and the Australian black-backed variety; and the
Finfoots of Africa and America. All these birds inhabit marshy land,
or the banks of streams, and derive their food from the insect life
that swarms near the water. With the finfoots the collection of wading
birds closes; but before going on his way, the visitor should glance
at the paintings which are hung about the wall cases in this room or
compartment. These include portraits of Lord Chancellor Bacon; Andrew
Marvel; a copy from the picture at Wimpole of Admiral Lord Anson;
Camden; Matthew Prior; William Cecil, Lord Burghley; Sir Isaac Newton;
Archbishop Cranmer; and George Buchanan. Having examined these works,
the visitor's way lies in a direct line to the last room of the
eastern gallery--to that, the wall cases of which, are filled with the
families of


This section of the birds includes all those which are able to support
themselves upon the surface of the water. The varieties include the
gaudy Flamingos; the Albatross that frighted the ancient mariner; the
Pelicans with their pouches; the impetuous Gannets, and the remarkable
Frigate Bird. And here, too, the visitor will find the varieties of
ducks, geese, and swans, all classed in regular order. The web-footed
birds occupy no less than thirty-one cases; to each of which the
visitor should pay some attention. The first case of the series (135)
is gay with the bright red plumage of the flamingos, with their
crooked upper mandible, and their long legs and necks. The next four
cases (136-139) of the series are occupied by the varieties of the
Goose. In the first of these cases the visitor should notice the
varieties of the spur-winged goose from various parts of the world;
including the black-backed goose. In the three following cases the
white fronted and grey-legged European geese; the Canada and
Magellanic geese; and the Indian barred-headed goose; and the
cereopsis from New Holland. The stately Swans from various parts of
the world, all graceful; including the handsome black-necked swan, and
the whistling swan, occupy the three cases next in succession
(140-142). The Ducks occupy no less than eight cases; and the visitor
will linger over the beautiful varieties, without once allowing the
unkind association of green peas to enter his head. In the first four
cases (143-146) are the sub-families of the true duck, collected from
various parts of the world;--the teal from China; the whistling duck
from South America, and the European varieties of the common teal, the
widgeon, and the sheldrake. Three cases (147-149) are filled with
those sub-families of the duck which prefer the sea or the great
lakes, including the handsome red-crested European duck; the eider
duck, which is robbed of its down for the comfort of mankind;[4] the
scoter and nyroca ducks; and, in the third case, the spinous-tailed
ducks of southern climes. The arctic birds, known as the Mergansers,
are grouped in the next case (150): and, proceeding on his way, the
visitor will arrive before the cases (151-152) of Divers, from the
north, so called from the strength with which they dive for the fish
upon which they live; but their powers in this respect are not
equalled by those of a sub-family of web-footed birds, which the
visitor will presently reach. Before reaching the cases in which the
interesting sub-families of the Gulls are exhibited the visitor should
remark the varieties of the Grebes in case 152; the two following
cases devoted to the Auks from the arctic regions; and the true Auks
of Britain; the varieties of the Penguins, or marine parrots; and the
Guillemots. From these birds the visitor's way lies in the direction
of the six cases (155-160) in which the sub-families of the gulls are
grouped. The contents of the first cases will at once strike him: here
are the Petrels, and the associations of shipwreck and disaster with
which they have ever been connected. The group includes the stormy
petrel, and the albatross. They have an altogether wild and singular
appearance. The true gulls of every sea are grouped in the next three
cases (157-159): they come from the ice of the polar seas, and from
our own shores, including the kittiwake gull, and the European
black-backed gull. The last case of the gull family (160) is given to
the Terns, which are caught in all parts of the world; and the
Skimmers, so called from the dexterity with which they skim the
surface of the water, keeping the under mandible immersed, and the
upper dry, in search of prey. Next to the gulls are placed the Tropic
Birds (161), the name of which indicates their native clime. These
birds prey upon fish; some, as the red-tailed tropic bird, darting
upon the flying-fish; and others, as the darters, boldly plunging into
the tide from overhanging boughs, in search of their favourite prey;
here, too, is the common Cormorant. Four more cases remain for
examination, and then the visitor will have closed his inspection of
the museum specimens of birds. These four cases contain, however, one
or two birds, the habits of which are singular. First, there are the
Pelicans with their capacious pouches. The rapidity with which these
birds swallow small fish has been witnessed by most people at our
Zoological Gardens. The visitor should notice next, the European
Gannet, of which strange stories of strength and prowess are related.
The velocity with which they dive in search of food has been variously
estimated. It is said that on the coast of Scotland, fishermen have
found them entangled in their nets at the extraordinary depth of a
hundred and twenty feet below the surface. Pennant relates a story of
a bird, which, on seeing some pilchards lying upon a floating plank,
darted down with such strength, that its bill pierced the board. And
now the visitor should turn to contemplate the grand and solitary
Frigate Bird. This bird appears to have the power of sustaining itself
in the air for an indefinite period, and to wander with the utmost
confidence on its broad pinions, over hundreds of miles of ocean, now
and then dipping to secure its prey. This slim, pale, and solitary
wanderer must have a noble appearance, when calmly sailing upon its
great expanse of wing, a thousand miles from any resting-place, its
food floating in the element below, to be taken at will. Before
leaving the last, or most northerly apartment of the eastern
zoological gallery, the visitor would do well to notice a few of the
pictures which are suspended above the wall cases. Here are portraits
of Voltaire; the hardy Sir Francis Drake; Cosmo de Medici and his
secretary (a copy from Titian); Martin Luther; Jean Rousseau; Captain
William Dampier, by Murray; Giorgioni's Ulysses Aldrovandus; Sir Peter
Paul Kubens; the inventor of moveable type, John Guttenberg (which
would be more appropriately placed in the library); John Locke; a poor
woman, named Mary Davis, who in the seventeenth century, was
celebrated for an excrescence which grew upon her head, and finally
parted into two horns; the great Algernon Sidney; Pope; Ramsay's
portrait of the celebrated Earl of Chesterfield, who, according to Dr.
Johnson, "taught the morality of a profligate, and the manners of a
dancing master," and a landscape by Wilson. At the northern door of
this gallery are, a painting of Stonehenge, and one of the cromlech at
Plâs Newydd, in Anglesea.

The visitor's way now lies to the west out of the eastern zoological
gallery into the most southerly of the two northern galleries. This
gallery, which consists of five compartments, or rooms, is called


The wall cases of this gallery, to which the visitor's attention
should now be exclusively devoted, contain various zoological
families. In the first eight wall cases of the room are distributed
the varieties of Bats. These are placed here, away from the mammalia,
on account of the pressure of room. They are not to be mistaken as
birds in any particular. They are essentially mammalia, inasmuch as
they produce their young in a breathing state and suckle them. The
bats of England and other cold climates remain in a torpid condition,
and only spread their wings of stretched skin when the songbirds
report the advent of the warmth of spring. The visitor will notice
amongst the varieties in the three first cases, the Brazilian bats,
including the vampire bat (which has been known to attack a man in his
sleep and suck blood from him), the remarkable leaf-nosed bats which
are ranged upon the upper shelves, and the Indian and African
varieties; and underneath are grouped the well-known horse-shoe bats
of the eastern hemisphere. In the next case (4) are the long-eared
European bats, with ears like curled leaves; and the American,
African, and Australian varieties. The fifth case is filled with
groups of the African and Indian taphozous; the South American
tropical bats; and the West Indian chelonicteres and moormops. The
last three cases, devoted to the varieties of the bat (6-8), contain
those sub-families which are known as Flying Foxes, from their great
size. These live on fruits, and inhabit Australia, and the southern
countries of the eastern hemisphere.

The visitor's way now lies westward into the second compartment of the
northern zoological gallery; for in this room, as in the rooms through
which he has already passed, he should confine his attention, for the
present, to the wall cases, reserving the examination of all table
cases for his return visit, on his way out. And here the visitor may
well pause to think upon the zoological travels he has already made,
from the mammalia, which present the highest types of animal life;
through the sub-families of birds, which form Cuvier's secondary class
of vertebrata, or animals with a back-bone; to the threshold of the
room in which the tertiary class of back-boned animals are deposited.
This class includes the great families of


of which there are no less than six hundred and fifty-seven varieties.
Reptiles are vertebrated animals belonging to Cuvier's first great
section, but distinguished from mammalia and birds, by their cold
blood, their oviparous generation, and the absence of either feathers
or hair from their bodies. They take precedence of fish in the animal
kingdom, having lungs for aerial respiration, and "a higher
circulatory organisation than the exclusive inhabitants of the water."
In the museum, Cuvier's classification has been followed, with slight
variations; that is to say, the reptiles have been re-divided into
four classes:--the Sauria, or Lizards (in which class some modern
naturalists, as Merrem and others, include serpents); the Ophidia, or
Serpents; the Testudinata, or Tortoises; and the Batrachia, or Frogs.
The lizards occupy the first ten wall cases in this room.

The first case contains those lizards of India and Africa which have
long held the regard of eastern nations, upon the slender report that
they hiss upon the approach of a crocodile, and so warn the incautious
traveller to retreat in time. The truth is, these sauria prey upon the
crocodile's eggs, no doubt to the particular annoyance of the
crocodile, who are, therefore, it is more than probable, no friends of
the monitors. The Egyptian would love the monitor for feeding upon the
crocodile germ, as much as for his timely warning of the approach of
the uncouth enemy. The curious heloderms, from Mexico, with their
ophidian teeth, lie at the bottom of the fifth case: they are
supposed, but as yet on insufficient grounds, to be poisonous. In the
next case (6) are the lizards of tropical America, called safeguards.
Their reputed peculiarity is that, of beating beehives till they
compel the bees to retire, and then feasting upon the sweet booty: in
the same case with these, is the lizard with the double-keeled tail,
known as the crocodilurus. The visitor next faces a case (7) of
Serpent Lizards, which do not deserve their reputation for poisonous
properties, being quite harmless: here, also, are the Skinks and other
varieties, including the blind worms with their hidden legs. Having
dismissed the serpent lizards, the visitor will notice the Night
Lizards and Guanas. The former are inhabitants of warm climates, and
from the ease with which they can adapt themselves to any positions,
they may be troublesome visitors; they can run with ease about the
walls and ceilings of rooms, like flies; and their propensity is to
roam abroad in the darkness of the night. Their broad, ugly heads, and
repulsive general appearance, have won for them the character of
poisonous reptiles, but the truth is they are harmless. The Crested
Lizards which the visitor will notice hereabouts, are the American
fruit-eating species, celebrated for violent quarrelling among
themselves, and for their power of changing colour with great
rapidity. They do not crawl upon the earth, but live on trees, the
fruits of which sustain them. Here, too, are the Anoles, with their
distended toes, that enable them to imitate the crawling feats of the
night lizards. The tenth case devoted to the lizard tribe, is the most
interesting of the series. It contains the family of lizards known as
the Agama. This family boasts many famous scions. First, here are the
Indian dragons; their resemblance to the fabled monster slain by St.
George, consists of a loose skin over the ribs, which they can open or
fold at pleasure. These bat-like wings will not support them in the
air, but serve to steady their bodies when leaping from branch to
branch of a tree. From these lilliputian representatives of the
monster of fable, the visitor's attention will most probably be called
by an important-looking lizard, of which Mr. Allan Cunningham brought
the first specimens to this country, from Port Nelson, Australia. We
allude to the lizard with a frill round its neck, which has been
universally likened to that worn by Queen Elizabeth: it is called the
frilled agama. It is supposed that this harmless sauroid extends this
frill to frighten away its enemies; as old ladies, who can preserve
their presence of mind in the neighbourhood of a bull, open their
umbrella to frighten it into an opposite direction. Under these
interesting sub-families are grouped the varieties of a species of
agama that has won for itself an imperishable reputation--having
furnished imaginative minds with matter for the most extravagant
speculations--and yielded to the political writer abundant sarcastic
images. No politician who has thought proper in the course of a long
career, to change his old principles for new ones (as housewives
exchange worn-out apparel for new gilded pottery); no philosopher who
has by turns embraced conflicting principles of human action; no man
of science who has published two opposite theories of the formation of
our universe, can pause without emotion before this case of classed
Chameleons; for the politician, the philosopher, and the man of
science have inevitably figured in hostile reviews under the head of
colour-changing sauroids. The popular notion respecting the
colour-changing powers of these lizards is, that at will the chameleon
can habit itself in any colour of the rainbow; that by turns it is a
red chameleon, a blue chameleon, a green chameleon, and a yellow
chameleon. The fact of the case is very far-from this notion.
Chameleons are found chiefly in Africa and India, but also in some of
the tropical islands. In their habits they are sluggards, lounging
generally about trees, and distending their long tongues covered with
a glutinous secretion, to secure passing insects, upon which they
subsist. They have eyes of wonderful power, and can look backwards and
forwards at the same moment; but as regards their colour, it is well
to assure the visitor, that their usual tint when resting in the shade
is a blue-grey, which sometimes pales to a lighter grey, turns green,
assumes a brown-grey tint, or darkens to a decided brown. These are
the sober observations of observant naturalists on the subject.

The class of reptiles to which the visitor should next direct his
attention are those classed by Cuvier and others under the head of
Ophidia, or


The particulars in which, the serpent differs from the lizard are,
that the former have no feet, cast their bright coats annually (like
our metropolitan postmen), and swallow their food without masticating
it. They occupy seven cases. The upper part of the first case contains
many of the most poisonous serpents. Among these are the well-known
and formidable Rattlesnakes of America, with specimens of their
rattles lying near them, which, as the visitor-will see, are a
succession of osseous joints. Here too are the terrible cobra di
capello, and other poisonous serpents of India; the South American fer
de lance; the vipers of Europe; the North African crested viper; and
the Cape of Good Hope and Western African puff adder; the Guinea
nosehorn viper, and the common viper found in England--our only
dangerous serpent. These serpents all inflict their poisonous wounds
by means of two fangs, which they protrude from the mouth, and from
the points of which they inject the poisonous matter into the wounds
they inflict. On the lower shelves of this case the visitor will find
some specimens of the Sea-Serpents, which frequent the East Indian
seas, and the coast of New Holland. They are dangerous reptiles,
having small fangs amid their teeth, with which they attack bathing
animals or men. Some of them have been found sleeping on the warm
bosom of a tropical ocean; and upon the warm sands of the shore they
are often found, coiled up in a torpid state. They vary greatly in
size: but the visitor will perceive none approaching in length to that
remarkable reptile which artists, despairing in their attempts to give
it the proper dimensions, lately coiled about the wide pages of
pictorial papers.

The visitor will next have his attention drawn to that family of
serpents of which the Boa is the great representative. These are all
grouped together in cases (12-15). This family has what naturalists
call "the rudiments of legs." They are a nobler family than that which
the rattlesnake represents, inasmuch as they do not depend upon poison
to master their enemy; but fight legitimately, with their muscular
strength. The terrible pictures which adorn the pages of eastern
travels for children, of poor Indians with just their heads appearing
above the folds of a gigantic boa, will probably recur to the visitor,
as he surveys the tortuous folds of the placid specimens of the family
that lie before him. It is therefore hardly necessary to inform him
that the boa family destroy their prey by coiling round it, and having
secured their tail to a tree to give themselves additional strength,
by crushing every bone in its body. Having thus taken the life out of
the victim, the destroyer, with some trouble, if the animal be large,
swallows it, and lies down for weeks to allow the process of digestion
to go on. Some of these boas are from Africa, some from India, and
some from America. The last two cases of serpents (16, 17) include
many varieties. Here are the common water and ring snakes of England;
the coach whip snakes, that live coiled about trees; the black and red
ringed snakes, known as the coral snakes; and the varieties of
serpents with which the famed serpent charmers of India exhibit their
skill. The juggler snakes have the peculiar power of inflating the
skin of the neck till it bulges over the head, and so forms a kind of
hood. The Indian varieties of these hooded snakes are poisonous, and
are distinguishable from the others by a yellow spot on the back of
the neck.

From the serpents the visitor should turn to the families of the
Testudinata, or


Tortoises are broadly divided into three species, namely, land
tortoises; fresh water tortoises, of which there are no less than
forty-six varieties; and marine tortoises, well known to the citizens
of London, in the shape of turtle-soup. The land tortoises subsist on
vegetables, and are said to live occasionally more than two hundred
years. The two first cases devoted to Testudinata (18, 19) contain the
American, Indian, and African varieties of the land tortoise. Here is
the gigantic tortoise from Galapagos, for the flesh of which many a
sailor has been grateful. The visitor will remark that the shells of
some of the sub-families are handsomely marked. The fresh water
tortoises, having the greatest number of sub-families, occupy three
cases (20-22). This species is found in the marshes or rivers of warm
climates, where they prey upon small fishes and frogs. The thurgi
tortoise of India, and the American snapping-tortoise, grow to a great
size. In the lower part of case 22 are specimens of those tortoises
which sleep with their heads bent under the margin of their shell. In
the last case devoted to tortoises, are those hard tortoises known as
the three-clawed terrapins of Asia, Africa, and America. These are the
strictly carnivorous family that feed in the water; and may be seen
preying upon the human remains that float down the Ganges. Under these
terrible epicures are the marine tortoises or turtles; and among them
the green turtle of the tropics. Shellfish and sea-weed are its chief
food; of its flesh, all Londoners who have not tasted it, can speak
pretty confidently from hearsay. It grows occasionally to a great
size; those smaller ones which the citizens prize weighing generally
about 600 lb. Here too are the turtle of the Mediterranean, and the
hawksbill turtle of Arabia, to which ladies are indebted for the
choicest of their tortoise-shell combs. Having sufficiently dwelt upon
the interesting histories of the tortoises, the visitor's way lies
forward in the direction of the two cases next in order of succession,
which are devoted to the Loricata, or


The varieties of this family are not many; they are grouped in three
cases (24-26). Here are the terrible common crocodiles which have long
been the terror of the people whose native land they inhabit; the
alligators, which patronise America exclusively; and the gavials of
India. They are said to act as orderlies, in the rivers they frequent,
devouring all the putrid matter that would else infect the atmosphere.
Here too are those curious snakes which are equally thick at either
end--a peculiarity which has earned for them the appellation of
double-headed, and the supposed power of walking indifferently
forwards or backwards. The visitor now approaches the


called by zoologists after the Greek name, Batrachia. The author of
the Vestiges of Creation remarks, that the frog is the only animal
that, like man, has a calf on the hinder part of its legs. The
batrachian animals are here all grouped in one case (26). They have
many peculiarities. They are in the first place almost ribless; their
feet are in no way armed; many of the toads have no teeth, and those
of the frog are insignificant for its size; they have no tails;
neither the frogs nor the toads are venomous; the fiery expectorations
of the poor toads are matters of household fable only; and their
croaking choruses have startled many a poor traveller. One variety, in
the case with which the visitor is now engaged, is remarkable. Here
are specimens of the tree frogs that can walk with their backs
downwards on the most polished surfaces, and can slightly change their
colour; the paradoxical frog from Surinam, which is larger as a
tadpole than in its condition of maturity; the Brazilian horned toads;
the American bull frogs; and the Brazilian pipa, the female of which
deposits its eggs upon the back of the male, who carries them about
till they burst from their shells; the repulsive siren of Carolina,
which Mr. J.E. Gray likens to an eel with fore-legs; and lastly, here
is the blushing proteus, which in its native subterranean caverns is
of a pale pink, but when brought to the light of day, deepens into a
crimson blush; this is represented by a waxen model. It is strange
that political and controversial literature, so rich in chameleons,
asses in lions' skins, and other figures for human fallibility and
stupidity, should not contain a few, just a few, varieties of the
blushing proteus.

The visitor has now examined all the wall cases of the second room;
and his way again lies to the west. The third or central room of the
gallery, which he is now about to enter, is to a large class of
country visitors, perhaps the most interesting apartment of the
museum. Herein is deposited a complete museum of the animal life of
Britain, comprehending the beasts and birds native to its soil, and
the fishes that swim in its waters.


In this room, as in the previous rooms, the vertebrated animals are
grouped in the wall cases or on the top of the cases. It is hardly
necessary to guide the visitor systematically through the intricacies
of a collection, every beast, bird, fish, and shell of which is native
to his own land. In the wall cases devoted to British vertebrate
animals he will notice, first the Carnivorous Beasts, which include
the foxes; stoats; cats; &c.:--the Glirine Beasts, including rabbits;
squirrels; hares; rats; and mice:--the Hoofed Beasts, as the fallow
deer; the stag; and the roebuck:--and the Insectivorous Beasts,
including moles; hedgehogs; &c.

The collection of British birds includes the Birds of Prey, as the
hawks; the eagles; and the owls:--the Perching Birds, as the swallows;
kingfishers; thrushes; butcher birds; rollers; and wagtails:--the
Scraping Birds, as pheasants; pigeons; quails; partridges; and
guinea-fowls:--the Wading Birds, including the woodcock; snipes;
herons; sandpipers; storks; &c.:--and the Web-footed Birds, including
swans; ducks, and sea ducks; grebes; divers; auks; petrels; gulls;
gannets; cormorants; &c. The eggs of the birds are in a table case (1)
and arranged like the birds.

The British reptiles are all collected in the upper part of one case,
including toads; frogs; and lizards.

The British fish occupy the remainder of the wall cases. These include
perch; bream; the john-dory; carp; barbel; salmon; pike; trout;
sturgeon; the shark; thornback; lamprey; turbot; plaice; sole;
flounder; cod; haddock; &c.


Three tables (2-4) are devoted to insects with jaws; the insects that
are furnished with a proboscis; and a collection of British Crustacea,
including lobsters; crabs; woodlice; shrimps; &c. On the table upon
which the Insects with Jaws are spread, the visitor will notice many
household torments, including beetles; crickets; earwigs, bees; and
wasps: and in the general collection, ants; grasshoppers; cockroaches;
dragon-flies; &c. The Insects with a proboscis include some beautiful
butterflies with their painted wings; gnats; and, to the horror of
many female visitors, bugs.

The three next tables are covered with specimens of the shells of
British mollusca, or soft-bodied animals. Here are the shells of
snails, cockles, mussels, oysters, &c.

The collection closes with a table case (8) which is covered with
specimens of those animals called by Cuvier radiated creatures, or
creatures whose nervous force is concentrated in a central point
whence it radiates, as in the starfish; sea eggs, &c; corals; sea
pens; corallines, &c.

Having made this rapid survey of the animal life of Great Britain from
its highest to its lowest developments, the visitor should again
resume his journey westward, to the fourth room of the gallery, in
which the collection of


begins. Here the Osseous or bony fishes are distributed in and on the
top of the wall cases. While taking a general glance at the
arrangement of the room, the visitor will at once be struck by the
specimens of Sword fish--especially by the Indian flying sword fish,
which are placed on the top of the wall cases on account of their
length--and some of the pikes or swords of these fish, one of which,
it is asserted, was driven, by the fish to which it belonged, into the
hull of a stout oak ship. On the top of one of the cases the visitor
should notice also the remarkable large head, from Mexico, with a long
dorsal ray.

There are six orders or families of osseous or bony fish; and
specimens of all these will be found in the wall cases of this room.
First there is the family of


This family occupies the first thirteen wall cases. Among the fishes
in the first four cases, the visitor should notice the flying
gurnards; the sea scorpions, and flying sea scorpions; the paradise
fish; and the perches, including the fingered variety. The next cases
(4-9) include, amid other varieties, the chaetodons, or
bristle-toothed fish; mackarel, and horse mackarel; tunny; scombers,
&c.; john-dories; and pilot fish. Then follow, next in succession, two
cases (10, 11) containing the lively dolphins, which are remarkable
for the rapidity with which they change colour when they are withdrawn
from the water; the sturgeons, with their lancet spine; and the sea
garters. The next two cases include the remaining specimens of the
spiny-finned fish. Among these are the wolf fish; the curiously formed
tobacco-pipe fish; the big-headed dolphins or anglers; the hand fish,
with its long fins; and the rook fish.


are deposited in nine cases. In the first two cases (14, 15) of the
series, are the fresh water fish of different countries, including the
voracious and long-lived pike: these form an interesting group for the
contemplation of anglers. The next case is devoted to hard-coated
fish, as the Callichthes, which are cased with a thick scale armour;
and the hard-coated Loricaria. The fish grouped in the other cases of
the series, are mostly familiar to the general visitor. Here are the
varieties of the salmon and the herring; cod; ling; turbot; flounders;
eels of various kinds; whiting; and the lump fish. The remaining four
cases of this room are devoted to a series of fishes including, in
cases 23, 24, the globe fish with a parrot's beak; and the ungainly
sea horses. The two last cases (25, 26) include the file fish; the
coffin fishes with their hard case of octagonal plates; and the
European and American sturgeons. Having examined the varieties of
osseous fishes, the visitor should continue his westerly course into
the fifth and last room, a compartment of the northern zoological
gallery. In this room he will find the wall cases devoted to


Many of the specimens of this division are placed on the top of the
wall cases, being too large to be placed inside the cases. The
Cartilaginous fishes here brought together include the varieties of
the ray; torpedos; and sharks. At the western extremity of this room
the visitor should terminate the onward course of his first visit,
and, remembering that the table cases of the northern and eastern
galleries through which he has passed, remain to be examined on his
way back to the grand staircase, should begin to retrace his steps,
confining his attention, as he returns, to the table cases placed in
the central space of the rooms through which his way lies. He should
now therefore face the east, and return, in the northern zoological
gallery towards its eastern extremity. The table cases deposited in
the room with the cartilaginous fish are covered with


of different kinds. It will be interesting to the visitor to know
something of the natural history of the sponge. It has been
ascertained, beyond a doubt, that the sponge is an animal that sucks
in its food and excretes its superfluities; that certain of its pores
imbibe, while others exude; and that according to the relative
positions of the two distinct sets of pores, is the shape of the
sponge determined. In a natural state, as it is found in the
Mediterranean, the sponge is surrounded with a thick glutinous matter,
which is its vital part; like coral, it is a zoophyte: it propagates
in the same manner, and its life is indestructible till it is removed
from its proper element, and the glutinous matter which makes its
vitality has been boiled out of its pores, leaving the soft and
beautiful skeletons, of which these cases contain many specimens. Here
also are some old sponges preserved in flint. Having noticed these
beautiful zoophytes, the visitor should proceed in an easterly
direction into the room he recently quitted, to examine the table
cases it contains. The first tables to which he should direct his
attention here, are those in which a series of Crustacea or
hard-coated animals are deposited. They are of Cuvier's order of
animal life, known as the articulata, or animals whose bodies consist
of a series of moveable joints. These are mostly inhabitants of the
sea, and rank in the animal kingdom as the highest class of the
Articulata, except the insects, who head the order. The tables upon
which the Crustacea or


are deposited, are numbered from 13 to 24. The four first cases
(13-16) are covered with Crabs of various kinds, including the
long-legged spider-crabs, common crabs with oysters growing upon their
backs, and fin-footed swimming crabs. The next case (17) contains in
addition to the long-eyed or telescope crab, varieties of the
land-crab, which is found in various parts of India; one kind, that
swarms in the Deccan, commits great ravages in the rice-fields. The
two next tables are covered with Chinese crabs, square-bodied crabs;
those crabs with fine shells known as porcelain crabs, and the curious
death's head crab, which seems to build a kind of nest of sponge or
shells. But upon the next table (20) the visitor will find the most
remarkable of the crabs, together with an astonishing lobster. This
crab is known as the hermit crab. The visitor will perceive, that it
has a long naked tail; and he should know that the one all-absorbing
care of its life seems to be to find a place of safety in which this
unprotected part may be screened from the dire mischances of war.
Accordingly, at an early age, it sets out in search of a deserted
shell into which it backs its tail; or if an unoccupied shell be not
at hand, without much ceremony, the hermit contrives a summary
ejectment of the lawful tenant, that it may shield its tail and be at
rest. Upon the same table with this unceremonious hermit, lies the
tree-lobster, which is believed to climb cocoa-trees in search of the
nuts. Upon the next table (21) are the sea craw-fish and sea locusts;
and upon the succeeding table (22) the visitor will remark the
destructive scorpion-lobster of India, the excavations of which
seriously damage the roads of that part of the world; Shrimps in all
their varieties; the delicate alima, with its pale thin shell; and the
long king crab. Upon the last two tables devoted to shell fish, or
crustacea, are spread the goose shells or barnacles, whale lice, and I
the sea acorn.

Having examined these crustacea, the visitor should turn his attention
to the twelve tables (1-12) upon which a fine collection of


is spread. The first eight tables are covered with varieties of


These include some beautiful insects. The care with which the many
thousand varieties have been classified by zoologists, and the
minuteness with which the habits of each variety have been traced,
have raised these insects to a conspicuous position in the great
Animal Kingdom. Their beauty, as they lie here in vast numbers before
the spectator, is dazzling. Every colour and every combination and
shade of colour can be traced upon them; and in these varieties of
tint there appears to be a wise provision of nature, the blue coloured
beetle being the frequenter of the bark of trees, the green beetle
revelling among the leaves; and the gay red and light beetles being
the _habitées_ of flower cups. Upon the first table of the series (1)
are some curious varieties. Here are the remarkable burying-beetle,
that deposits its eggs in the rotting flesh of small dead animals, and
then, with the assistance of some kindred beetles buries the body,
leaving its progeny to enjoy the carrion when they quicken; the sacred
scarabaeus of the Egyptians, and the British variety of the same
beetle, that bury their eggs in their dung. Upon the next table (2)
are the golden tropical beetles, whose wings are used by the natives
as ornaments; the celebrated glow worms, the females of which emit a
phosphorescent light, in order to attract the attention of the
males--thus these lights are love signals; the Brazilian
diamond-beetle, a splendid insect, and the harlequin beetle. The third
table (3) is covered with varieties of the kangaroo beetles, a
brilliant collection of ladybirds, the varieties of earwigs,
cockroaches, originally tropical insects only; the praying insects,
called so from their habit of erecting their fore legs and assuming a
prayerful attitude, when, in fact, they are preparing for an attack
upon their prey: and the insects which the uninitiated visitor has
already mistaken for pieces of stick, but which are the walking
leaf-insects; some with wings like dead leaves, and others wingless.
The fourth table (4) is covered with the varieties of the Cricket,
including the great Chinese cricket, dragon-flies, scorpion-flies, the
terrible tropical white ants, caddis flies, wasps, saw-flies, bees,
hornets, and sand wasps.


Then follow three tables (5-7) of splendid butterflies, with their
brilliant tints. The two tables (8, 9) ranged next in order to those
upon which the butterflies are distributed, are covered with varieties
of the moth. Here are the silkworm moth and its cocoon as kept in
Siberia; the ghost moth of our hop grounds; the hawk moth, the death's
head moth, and the large Brazilian owl moth.

The next table (10) is covered with a great variety of flies and bugs,
including the Chinese lantern flies.

The eleventh table is given up to Spiders in all their varieties,
including the tarantula, a formidable insect with a power of severe
biting; and the curious spider that bores a nest in the ground, lines
it sumptuously with its own silk, and then constructs a lid that
closes inevitably, as the insect leaves its house. Here too are the
scorpions. The last table of the series (12) is covered also with
varieties of the spider, including the land and shepherd spiders; the
African scarlet tick, and the centipedes. The visitor has now
completed his survey of the contents of this room, and should at once
pass forward in an easterly direction, traverse the British zoological
room, which he has already examined throughout, and pass into the
fourth room of the gallery.

The table-cases in this room present nothing that can greatly interest
the unscientific visitor. They are covered with varieties of


The sea-eggs are scattered over the first nine tables (1-9) in the
room. They live on small animals and sea-weed. The varieties include a
flat kind, vulgarly called sea-pancakes. The remaining cases of the
room are loaded with varieties of the star-fish. The mouth of the
star-fish is on its lower side, through which it takes its food. It
has innumerable feet, which it displays when in the water, and by
means of which it can climb rocks. Some of the varieties fall to
pieces on being taken from their native element, as the lizard, or
brittle star-fish. The gorgon's head, which has innumerable branches
from its central part, should be observed by the visitor; and the
sea-wigs, which are a kind of star-fish, somewhat resembling the
gorgon's head, with innumerable radii. They are placed upon table 24,
near a cast of a stem and flower, that has the appearance of a fossil
plant, but is in reality a cast of a crinoid star-fish that once
existed in great abundance. In the most eastern room of this gallery
are a few tables upon which are deposited the shells and tubes of
molluscous animals, to illustrate their changes, and the way in which
the animal adapts them to his position. The third and fourth tables
will, perhaps, interest the general visitor. Here he will find
specimens exhibiting the growth of Shells, and also how the animal
repairs any damage to its shell. Here, too, are the shells upon which
the modern cameo-cutters of Rome, work. As the visitor will perceive,
the design is engraved in relief upon the light outer layers of the
shell, leaving the darker under part exposed, as a back-ground.

The visitor's way now lies out of the northern gallery, by its eastern
door, near which he should notice a remarkable sun fish, of a bulky
and squat appearance. Having regained the first, or most northerly
room of the great eastern zoological gallery, the visitor should turn
to the south, examining the table cases of this gallery as he returns
through its spacious rooms. All the table cases of this gallery, with
the exception of a few small side tables, are covered with the vast
varieties of the


of molluscous or soft animals. These shells, scattered over no less
than forty-nine tables, represent the architectural capacities of the
great order of soft-bodied animals, only inferior in rank, in Cuvier's
"Animal Kingdom," to the Vertebrate animals.

Upon the first table, before which the visitor will find himself (49),
are some interesting specimens of the well-known Cuttle fish,
exhibiting its varieties, including the common cuttle fish found upon
our coasts; those which have the power of secreting a dark fluid, and
those from India, whose ink-bags furnish artists with that valuable
brown called sepia. Here, too, are the skeletons of the slender
loligos, or sea leaves, known also as sea-pens; and the crozier shell.
Upon the next six tables (48-53), proceeding southward, are the
varieties of the Oyster, the Mussel, and beautiful Mother-of-pearl
shells. But hence the visitor will probably proceed rapidly to the
south; inasmuch as the varieties of the mussel family, including the
Chinese pearl mussel and Scotch pearl mussel, the borers, the club
shell, and the cockle family, are not generally interesting; but he
will probably linger for a few moments near the pond mussels placed
upon some of the tables (38-41). The tables numbered from 24 to 30 are
covered with the varieties of hard shells, which, however, present no
points of interest to the general visitor, who may at once pass on to
the varieties of the Nautilus and Argonaut, (tables 23, 24). And here,
too, we must entreat the visitor to forget the poetic history of the
inhabitants of those beautiful shells, and learn that the extended
arms of the nautilus are used only to clasp its shell; that it has no
sails of any kind. The varieties of the paper nautilus, or argonaut,
are the most delicate and beautiful. The next table (22) displays the
shell of the curious carrier, that embodies all kinds of foreign
substances with its shell; the slipper shell, and the rose bud. Upon
the next table (21) are the Screws; the curious ladder shells from
China; and upon table 20, are the varieties of fresh water Clubs. The
next two tables (18, 19) display some curious and beautiful shells,
including Venus's ear, the pagoda shell, and varieties of Snails,
including the apple snails. Proceeding on his southern way, the
visitor should pause to notice the ear shells, placed upon tables 18,
17, including the beautiful rainbow; the button shells, the rainbow
eardrop, and the pyramid upon table 16; the pomegranate from the Cape
of Good Hope, New Zealand imperial, and pheasant, and the West Indian
golden sun, upon table 15; the weaver's shuttle and pig cowries,
including the Chinese variety, highly valued by the Chinese, as an
ornament; also upon table 15, more varieties of cowries, including the
money cowry of Africa, used there as money, and the orange cowry from
the Friendly Islands, where it is worn as an ornament; the five
varieties of the Volutes, including the red clouded volute, the
Chinese imperial volute, the bishop's mitre, and the papal crown,
distributed upon tables 12 and 13. The Melons, the large varieties of
which are put to domestic uses by the Chinese, the olives, and butter
shells, upon table 11; the magilus, whelks, and the needle shell upon
table 10; the purple shell that emits the colour from which it is
named, the mulberry shell, and the unicorn shell, distributed upon
table 9; the tun shell, the harps, the harp helmets, and the helmets
upon which cameos are carved, distributed about tables 8 and 7; the
spindle shells, including the great tulip shells, and the turnip
shells, occasionally used as oil-vessels in Indian temples,
distributed about the tables 5, 6, and 7 are all worth examination.
The splendid cone shells, which include the king of the collection,
pointed out to visitors as the glory of the sea, from the Philippine
Islands, and the African setting sun cone, upon tables 5 and 4; the
rock shells upon table 4: the trumpet shells upon table 3, so called
after the large kinds which savage tribes have been known to use as
horns; and upon the last two tables, the stombs, including the
beautiful varieties from the West Indies and China, close the list.

       *       *       *       *       *

The visitor has now reached the Southern Extremity of the Eastern
Zoological Gallery, and brought his first visit to a conclusion. He
may well pause, however, before dismissing from his mind the objects
which have engaged his attention.

First, then, he examined the varieties of MAMMALIA. The mammalia, of
which man himself is the highest type, are the leading class of the
great order of vertebrate, or back-boned animals, and fishes are the
lowest, the intermediate classes being birds and reptiles. VERTEBRATA
are of higher rank in the animal kingdom than the mollusca, or
soft-bodied animals, those having "red blood and a double-chambered
heart." The mammalia are the class which suckle their young; second to
them are the BIRDS; and then the blood cools, the organisation is
inferior, and the REPTILES are produced; and lastly come the FISHES,
with cold blood, and wanting aerial lungs. Philosophers, who have
settled the scheme of the world as one of progression, complication,
or development, trace animal life from the polypus, (which belongs to
the order of Radiata, or animals that have a central point in which
the vital force of the animal appears to preside, diverging in radii,
as in the sea-eggs, starfishes, coral, sponges); the polypus advances
to the Articulata, or jointed animals, including all kinds of worms,
leeches, or ringed animals, of which insects are the most highly
organised developments; next to the Mollusca, or soft-bodied animals;
and then from these, which include the shell-fish, the scheme
gradually progresses to the fish with backbones; and here the lowest
order of Vertebrata is developed: the fish merges into the reptile,
the reptile into the bird; the bird, as in the ornithorhyncus, into
the Mammalia.

Thus the gradations of life may be clearly apprehended by the visitor.
The highest development of animal life he has seen in the MAMMALIA
SALOON, all the animals of which produce their young alive and suckle
them; the order of life immediately below the mammalia, he has
examined in the marvellous varieties of birds arranged in the NORTHERN
GALLERY; then he turned to the west, and examined the third order of
animal life in the REPTILES; then the fourth order represented by
FISH; and so on till he watched the simpler forms of life in the

The history of this marvellous progress of animal life, so far as
scientific men have gazed into its deep mysteries, is surely worth
attention. Few have the courage and the enthusiasm to follow each
footstep of the tiny ant at his complex labours,--few are the Hubers
that dwell among us; but to us all is given the love of that knowledge
which opens our eyes to a few of the mysteries that lie thickly on our
path, in the formation of the gravel upon which we tread, the clouds
that grandly glide above us, and the leaves that gather upon the
trees. After all the labours of our learned men, we are only now
pressing, with trembling footsteps, the avenue to the endless schemes,
and systems, and wonders, that lie buried in and about our world.
Still let all who enter our museum, go there with the resolve to
accomplish something by their visit. Even in the common concerns of
life; in the petty matters that wear away the brain at last; in the
market-places of the world, this insight is not without its effect.
The heart is humbled as the eyes open to the grandeur of the scheme,
and to the consequent littleness of individual manhood; but again, the
breast swells with the purest of all pride, when the thinker says to
himself: I am the King--because the hero or highest type of the
Articulata, Radiata, Mammalia, or any order of vegetable or animal
life. All these great and complicated developments are the beautiful
works of the Great Unseen, but I am His masterpiece. One may well
dream in this zoological museum, amid the staring glass-eyed skins of
an inferior brotherhood--of the long, long time ago when the fossils,
which are now scattered here and there, to assure us of their former
vitality, moved about the world, before they were stricken with
universal death, and buried by nature, deep in her teeming bosom, to
flourish presently in the veins of plants--the plants to die again,
and be dug, long ages after, from our deep coal-fields. These thoughts
towards nature, towards the marvellous records of an antiquity, the
remoteness of which we cannot realise, will rise to the minds of all
visitors who can see in the vast collection of animal life through
which we have guided them, revelations of the endless forms and the
endless beauties that pass often unnoticed, because not understood,
under every step that man takes in the many journeys that lie between
his hopeful cradle and his inevitable grave.



On entering the British Museum for the second time, the visitor should
ascend the great staircase, pass through the south, central, and
mammalia saloons; traverse the eastern zoological gallery, and
continue north, direct into the first room of the most northern
gallery of the northern wing;--where the studies of his second visit
should begin. His first visit was occupied in the examination of the
varieties of animal life distributed throughout the surface of the
globe. The greater part of his time on this occasion will be devoted
to the study of the wonders that lie under the surface of the earth;
of the revelations of extinct animal life made by impressible rocks;
and of the metallic wealth which human ingenuity has adapted to the
wants and luxuries of mankind. In the fossil remains he will be able
to recognise traces of an animal life, of which we have no living
specimens; of trees, the like of which never rise from the bosom of
the soil at the present time. The lessons that lie in these
indistinct, disjointed revelations of the remote past, are pregnant
with matter for earnest thought to all men. They are part of our
history--links that hold us to the sources of things, and recall us
again and again to the condition of our universe, as it trembled into
space, and as now we inhabit it--a great and marvellous globe, every
grain of which has an unfathomable story in it. Philosophers have
laboured long at the story of the earth; and their revelations have
tended to settle it, in a form not unlike the following:--

Originally, within the space bounded by the orbit of Uranus, a gaseous
matter was diffused at a high temperature. By laws, the origin of
which we have not yet traced, the condition of the diffused heat was
changed, and the particles of the gaseous matter, condensed and
agglomerated by attraction, into a series of planets, of which our
earth is the third in point of size. That the earth has undergone vast
changes, is evident to the most superficial geological student. We are
only able to investigate the crust of the earth, with all our
ingenious boring instruments: but even in this crust we may trace a
gradual change, and recognise the silent operations of nature in ages
never counted by man. According to the popular theory, the earth must
have been sixty times as large as its present size, and have cooled to
its present dimensions, retaining still, in its unfathomable bowels, a
burning heat. The conclusions of geologists, after long and patient
examination, are, that certain rocks mark the age of the world--that,
in fact, the crust of the globe consists of a certain number of
strata, each belonging to a certain era, as the rings of a tree tell
its years of growth. The more they test this theory, the more certain
are they that the history of our globe may be accurately read in the
strata which compose its crust. "A granitic crust, containing vast and
profound oceans, as is proved by the extent and thickness of the
earliest strata, was the infant condition of the earth. Points of
unconformableness in the overlying aqueous rocks, connected with
protrusions of granites, and other similar presentments of the
internal igneous mass, such as trap and basalt, mark the conclusions
of subsequent sections in this grand tale. Dates, such as
chronologists never dreamed of--compared with which, those of Egypt's
dynasties are as the latter to a child's reckoning of its
birthdays--have thus been presented to the now living generation, in
connexion with the history of our planet."[5] These changing masses
have been discovered with remains of organic life wrapped in their
particles, each mass enclosing a petrified museum of the life that
flourished while it was in course of formation: thus not only have we
distinct proof of extinct forms of animal and vegetable life, but we
are also able to assign the dates of their existence.

that to which the visitor's attention will be first directed. In this
room, as in the next three, the table cases are devoted to the
minerals; and the wall cases, along the southern side of the gallery,
are filled with


The wall cases of this room contain the various strata which have
traces of vegetable life. The earliest vegetable life of which the
geologist has found fossil remains is in the form of sea-weeds,
specimens of which the visitor will notice in case 1. The grand
harmony of the world's development is shown in this adaptation of the
earliest vegetable life to that of the earliest animal life--the
polypus drawing its sustenance from the sea-weed. In the next three
cases the visitor will notice various remains of fossil ferns (in clay
slate) and horse-tails, all indicating the former high temperature and
moisture of the localities in which they are found, since they are of
large proportions, and it is observable that these plants grow in bulk
according as they near the tropics. That the ferns and club mosses
have diminished with the decrease of temperature of the earth, is
proved by comparing the fossil club mosses, which have been found as
large as beech trees, whereas at the present time the most gigantic
club moss rarely exceeds three feet in height. In the lower sections
of the third, fourth, and fifth cases, the visitor may notice some
fine specimens of polished fossil woods; but the varieties of
vegetable fossils can hardly engage his serious attention for any
length of time, unless he have some real knowledge of botany and
geology; yet he may gather the solemn teaching that lies in those dark
masses of early coal formation and clay slate, even though he be
unable to explain the first principles of botanical science. He may
notice, however, in the fifth and sixth wall cases, fossil specimens
of extinct plants, including the sigillaria, which, when living, is
supposed to have attained often to the height of seventy feet. Having
noticed these vegetable remains, the visitor should cross to the
northern wall of the room, and examine the sandstones upon which the
tracks of an extinct animal called the chirotherium--and footprints,
supposed to be of birds, are distinguishable.

The central object in the room is a tortoise found in Hindostan, near
Allahabad. It is carved out of nephrite or jade, and is deposited upon
a curious table of inlaid ancient marbles. Against the eastern wall
are deposited some beautiful varieties of branched native silver from
Norway; Lady Chantrey's specimen of part of a coniferous tree,
semi-opalised; and a mass of websterite from Newhaven, Sussex. The
table cases now remain for examination. These are devoted to varieties


and their combinations. The visitor should examine the cases in the
order in which they are arranged, beginning with the cases marked 1
and 1A. These two cases contain specimens of native Iron. Native iron
has nearly always proved to be of meteoric origin; and the specimens
are here arranged in the order in which they have been found. They
have fallen from the heavens at different places, and at different
periods. The largest known aerolite is that which fell in Brazil, and
was no less than eight feet in length. These huge solid masses of
iron, discharged from the clouds in a burning state, may well set the
brains of philosophic men to work, to unravel the splendid mystery
that contrives laboratories high up in the air, from which dense tons
of pure iron are discharged upon our earth. Humboldt, discarding the
Laplaceian theory that aerolites were detached masses of the moon,
which ignited on reaching the oxygen that surrounds our globe, asserts
that they are Lilliputian planets, having their system as we have
ours; that they are identical with shooting stars, and that they
occasionally fall to the earth by coming within the attraction of a
body of overpowering magnitude. In the case with these meteoric
specimens of native iron are specimens of native Copper--not often
found in a pure state; native Lead, of meteoric origin; one specimen,
exhibited in the form of a medal, having been cast out of the crater
of Vesuvius about two hundred years ago; and native Bismuth, which
expands as it cools.

In the second case the visitor will particularly notice the beautiful
threads of native Silver from the Hartz Mountains; and the various
forms in which pure silver is found; native Mercury, and combinations
of mercury and silver called native amalgam, some moulded into figures
by Mexican miners; native Platinum from Siberia; and Palladium.

The third case of the series is resplendent with samples of native
Gold--a metal that plays so powerful a part in the affairs of
men--that has roused the fiercest passions of mankind, and been
coveted by human beings from the remote times when the Phoenicians
dreamt of golden lands in the east. Half of this table case is covered
with native gold and alloys. Pure gold is generally found in separate
crystals or grains, but the metal is mostly found combined with other
substances. It is alloyed, for manufacturing purposes, with copper and

Half of the third case, and cases 4, 5, and 6 in this room, are
covered with various electro-negative metals and metalloids, classed
according to the system laid down by Berzelius. In the third case are
Tellurium and Tellurets. In the fourth are samples of native Arsenic,
and its combinations with nickel and cobalt; Carbon in its various
forms, pure as in the diamonds, which the visitor will notice
attentively, some imbedded in the earth in which they were discovered,
and models of celebrated diamonds; Black Lead in porcelain earth, for
which Cumberland is celebrated; Selenium in its combinations with
lead, mercury, sulphur, and other metals; and a medallion, in
selenium, of Berzelius, who discovered this metal in 1818. The sixth
case is covered with Sulphurets, chiefly of iron, these being commonly
known as iron pyrites. These specimens of the commonest of metallic
ores are from various parts of the world. Upon this table also are
deposited Lord Greenock's sulphuret of cadmium, commonly called
greenockite; and sulphurets of nickel. Having examined the first six
cases of the series ranged along the southern side of the room, the
visitor should turn to the six last cases of the series (55-60). The
first northern case (55) is covered with various Sulphates, or metals
in combination with sulphuric acid, exhibiting beautiful crystals and
colours, including sulphate of magnesia from Oregon; sulphate of zinc,
or white vitriol; sulphate of iron, or green vitriol; and the splendid
blue sulphates of copper from Hungary; beautiful sulphates of lead
from Anglesea; sulphates of alumina; common alum; and the splendid
specimens of lazurite, or lapis-lazuli,--

     "Blue as the veins o'er the Madonna's breast,"

from which the beautiful pigment called ultramarine is extracted. In
1828 M. Guimet succeeded in making an artificial ultramarine, known
now extensively as French ultramarine, which is little, if at all,
inferior in beauty to lazurite. The next case (56) contains the
Arseniates, including arseniate of lime, crystallised; arseniates of
copper; arseniate of nickel; and red cobalt, or arseniate of cobalt.
The next case is devoted to the Phosphates, or metals mixed with
phosphoric acid, including crystals of the phosphate of iron from
Fernando Po, Bavaria, and Cornwall; phosphates of manganese; phosphate
of copper; yellow and green uranite; phosphates of alumina, including
the blue spar, which has been mistaken for lapis-lazuli, and the
phosphate of alumina known as turquois, found only in Persia, and
esteemed as an ornament. In the two supplemental table cases, 57 A and
B, the visitor may notice specimens of Pyromorphite, a combination of
phosphate and chloride of lead, and a combination of chloride of
calcium with phosphate of lime. These combinations, however, cannot
interest the general visitor.

The case marked 58 contains the varieties of Fluorides, or
combinations of fluorine and the metals. These include the fluoride of
calcium, of which the most familiar variety to Englishmen is that
known as Derbyshire spar, of which many useful articles are
manufactured in this country. Ladies particularly will halt with
interest before the case marked 58 A, where the fluorides, better
known as the topaz, are deposited. These include a fine series of
crystals from the Brazils, Siberia, and Saxony.

The 59th case is covered with Chlorides, or combinations of chlorine
with other substances, including rock salt, or chloride of sodium;
sal-ammoniac from Vesuvius; fine chloride of copper, exhibiting
beautiful crystals; and chlorides of silver and mercury. The two last
cases in the room (60 and 60 A) contain samples of coal, bitumen,
resins, and salts. Here will be found the honey-stone of Thuringia;
crystals of phosphate of magnesia and ammonia called struvite;
beautiful specimens of amber, some pieces of which inclose insects;
and copal, also containing insects; fossil copal; mineral pitch, from
naphtha to asphalt; the elastic bitumen of Derbyshire, exhibiting its
different degrees of softness; Humboldt's dapèche, an inflammable
fossil of South America; and brown and black coal. Having noticed all
these varieties, the visitor should advance at once westward into the
second room of the mineralogical gallery.

Here, against the southern wall, are groups of


ranged inside and upon the top of the wall cases. The most remarkable
of the remains inclosed in the wall cases of this room are the remains
of the carapace and other portions of the gigantic Fossil Tortoise
from the Sewalik Hills, Bengal, discovered by the enterprising Major
Cautley; and the gigantic fossil bones of an extinct genus of birds
that inhabited New Zealand in the remote past. But these wall cases
are mainly devoted to the exhibition of chelonian, or tortoise
fossils, which are the highest class of fossil reptiles, except the
serpents, and found only in the later or oolite formations of the
earth. The regularity with which the various families of reptiles are
discovered in the earth's strata, according to their order, is
remarkable. First the Lizards are found in the magnesian limestone,
immediately above the coal deposit, indicating their early appearance
on the earth; the next deposit, or new red sandstone, introduces us to
the Frogs; the oolite to the Tortoises; and the recent tertiary strata
to the Serpents. The bones of the tremendous wingless birds, which are
deposited in the third case of this room, have been recognised by
Professor Owen as the remains of an animal that must, when living,
have stood eleven feet high. By the windows in the northern wall of
the room are deposited the beautiful crystallised mass of Selenite, or
sulphate of lime, found in the duchy of Saxe Coburg, and presented to
the museum by Prince Albert; and a mass of carbonate of lime,
presented by Sir Thomas Baring. Having noticed these prominent
attractions of the room, the visitor should direct his attention to
the table cases, and first to those ranged along the southern half of
the room (7-13). Five of the tables are loaded with further specimens
of the Sulphurets, or metals in combination with sulphuric acid. In
the first case (7) are sulphurets of copper, and copper iron; in the
second case (8) are the series of sulphurets of lead, or galena, from
various parts of the world; in the third case (9) are specimens of
sulphuret of bismuth, needle ore, or sulphuret of bismuth, copper, and
lead, and sulphurets of mercury, or cinnabar, chiefly from Spain, the
light variety of which is the bright vermilion used by artists; in the
fourth case (10) are the sulphurets of silver, the beautiful
crystallised sulphurets of antimony, chiefly from Transylvania, and
the delicate plumose antimony, or feather ore; in the fifth case (11)
are the sulphur salts, including the ruby, silver, &c.; and in the
sixth case (12) are the sulphurets of Arsenic, red orpiment, of which
the best comes from Persia, cobalt glance, &c., bringing the series of
sulphurets to a conclusion.

In the next case (13) the series of Oxides begins. Herein are the
oxides and hydrous oxides of manganese.[6] Having examined the
sulphurets and oxides, the visitor should cross to the northern suite
of tables marked from 48 to 54. Here are arranged a series of the
Carbonates, or combinations of carbonic acid with earths, metallic
oxides or alkalis.

In the first case (48) are some specimens of brown spar from Hungary,
fibrous and crystallised carbonates of iron, and manganese spar; in
the second case (49) are the varieties of zinc spar, or carbonates of
zinc, lead spar, or carbonates of lead, and carbonates of bismuth and
cerium; in the third and fourth cases (50, 51) are the carbonates of
copper, the 51st case containing those splendid green carbonates of
copper from the mines in the Uralian Mountains, known commonly as
Malachite, and when in a polished state vulgarly mistaken for a green
and beautifully veined marble. Most visitors on examining these lumps
of malachite will think of the beautiful colossal furniture
manufactured of it by the Russians, and exhibited by them in their
department of the Great Exhibition. The next three cases (52-54) are
filled with series of sulphates, and some nitrates, including native
nitre, or saltpetre. The Sulphates in the cases include glauber salt,
or sulphate of soda; heavy spar or sulphates of baryta, among which
are some splendid crystallisations from Piedmont, Hungary, Spain, and
other countries; sulphate of strontia, known also as celestine, among
which are some delicate blue crystals from Sicily; sulphates of lime,
as gypsum, including some fine specimens of alabaster, and the fibrous
sulphate known vulgarly as tripe-stone. The visitor has now examined
the contents of the second room; the fossil tortoises and great
wingless birds; the mineral combinations--nearly all of which are
useful to man; and the way westward may be resumed to the third
department of the northern mineralogical gallery. In the wall cases of
this room are deposited some of the most interesting


Of these the celebrated fossil Salamander (which a German enthusiast
mistook for a fossil human skeleton), deposited in the first case,
will probably be most attractive to the general visitor. The first
three wall cases are devoted to the batrachian or Frog fossils; some
of the chelonian or Tortoise fossils; and the fossil crocodiles.
Fossil lizards are the most numerous of all fossil remains. Of these,
including the fossil crocodiles, the visitor will notice specimens in
the wall cases of this room, indicating the enormous size to which
these extinct reptiles must have grown. One, the Iguanodon (case 3)
was an animal that measured seventy feet in length. It existed in this
country; various bones of it are in this case. The remains of the
fossil Alligator, known as the mosasaurus, are also here, together
with the wealden lizard of Kent, which was about twenty-five feet in
length, and part of Cuvier's wonderful fossil Flying Lizard, or
sterodactylus, which is described as a reptile having mammalian
characteristics, a bat's wings, enormous eyes, and a bird's neck. In
the westerly cases of the room the visitor should notice the fossil
sea lizards divided into two families--the Plesiosaurus, and the
Ichthyosaurus. The plesiosaurus was an extraordinary reptile, of
gigantic size, the length of whose neck exceeded that of its body and
tail. It had ribs like a chameleon, and the body of a whale: it
chiefly inhabited the water; but as the visitor will find the chief
types of these extraordinary extinct reptiles in the next room, he may
at once, with the comfortable assurance that the Weald of Kent yields
nothing in the present day like the wealden lizard, turn to the table
cases of the room, in which he-will find further varieties of


The southern range of tables is numbered from 14 to 23; and the
northern range from 38 to 47. The first three tables of the southern
range (14-16) are covered with the varieties of Oxides of Iron,
including magnetic iron ore; natural magnets; the salam-stell of the
East Indies; iron glance from Elba, Vesuvius, and Stromboli, some of
which are very beautiful; brown iron stones, including the variety
used as hair powder by natives of South Africa; and the pea ores that
fell in a shower, on the 10th of August, 1841, in Hungary. In the next
case (17) are the Oxides of Copper; bismuth; red oxide of zinc; cobalt
ochres; oxide of uranium; and pitch ore. In the nineteenth case are
the Oxides of Lead; and in the twentieth are the first of the oxides
of electro-negative substances. This case contains the valuable
alumina known as noble corundite, and to jewellers in its formations
of ruby, sapphire, and the oriental emerald, topaz, and amethyst.
Herein also is the kind of corundum known as emery, and esteemed for
its polishing properties. In this case also are the Aluminates of
Magnesia, including the sapphirine; the chrysoberyls from Brazil, and
those inclosed in quartz and felspar with garnets. The next four cases
(20-23) are loaded with the varieties of the Acid of Silicium or
silica, which constitutes the greater part of hard stones and minerals
with which the earth is encrusted. It is nearly pure in the rock
crystal, of which there are many specimens in the first case (20),
including those crystals called Bristol and Gibraltar diamonds,
cairngorms, the smoky topaz; rock crystals inclosing foreign
substances, and in a wrought state: of these Dr. Dee's snow-stone is
one. The next two cases (21, 22) are devoted to the varieties of
common quartz, including the flexible sandstones of Brazil (of which
there are some larger specimens upon a separate table) and to those of
the east; milk quartz; the Salzburg blue quartz, &c.; some varieties
of the cat's eye; hornstones, including wood changed into hornstone:
and herein begin the flints, including some specimens changing into
calcedony, smalt blue calcedony from Transylvania; the Icelandic
stalactical calcedony; and the fine Cornish calcedony. Upon the last
southern table (23) are ranged further varieties of calcedony. These
include the blood stone; the curious Mocha stones; and agates,
including the agate nodule from central Asia. Having sufficiently
examined these beautiful varieties of calcedony, the visitor should
pass at once to the northern range of tables.

Upon the first of these tables (38) are some new scientific varieties
of mineral substances, in which the unscientific visitor will not take
any interest; herein also are Oxides of Antimony, including white
antimony from Bohemia; red antimony, or kermes, not to be mistaken for
the ancient dye used by the old Greek and Roman dyers, which was
obtained from the female _coccus illicis_; and tungstates of lime,
lead, and of iron and manganese.

In the second case (39) are the Molybdates and molybdic acid; the
Chromates, including red lead ore from the Siberian gold mines of
Beresof; chromate of lead and copper, and crome iron from Var, in
France;--the Borates, including borates of magnesia, and borate of
soda, or borax. In the third case (40) are some remarkable varieties
of silicates, which contain borates from Norway and other countries;
and in the fourth case (41) are the first in order, of the carbonates,
including carbonates of soda, the beautiful crystals of carbonate of
baryta, carbonate of strontia and aragonites, from Aragon, Hungary,
Bohemia, and Vesuvius; and in the next case (42) are deposited further
varieties of aragonite, and some remarkable varieties of calcite, or
carbonate of lime. The next three cases (43-45) are chiefly devoted to
the various crystallisations of calcite, including that generally
known as the Fontainbleau crystallised sandstone, and the stalactic
and fibrous varieties from Africa, Sweden, and Cumberland; while the
two cases marked 45 A and B are covered with polished samples, known
to people generally as marbles, including the beautiful fire marble.
The forty-sixth case is also covered with calcites, including the
reastone, the limestone incrusted upon a human skull, found in the
Tiber at Rome. In the 47th case are varieties of carbonate of
magnesia, and magnesian limestone, including a remarkable one from
Massachusetts. Some marble tables are also in this room, placed here
to exhibit the beauties of various calcites. The table of Serpentine
is here: also the table inlaid with porphyries; one with a series of
bivalve shells (25); and in the centre of the room is the stalagmitic
table, from the Blythe lead mine, Derbyshire, with black marble legs
from Bakewell, given to the trustees of the Museum by the Duke of
Rutland. Before leaving this room the visitor should not fail to
notice the Maidstone Iguanodon deposited in a bed of sandstone, and
placed beneath the central north window of the room. The bones are
disjointed, but the general form of the reptile may be more perfectly
seen here than in any other fossil remains of the iguanodon. Having
noticed this fossil, and remarked the classed groups of gigantic dark
fossil bones, which cover the southern wall, the fossil turtles from
Sussex and other parts, and the great fossil thigh bones of reptiles
that have passed long since from the face of the earth, the visitor
should once more advance into the fourth room of the gallery.

In this room the wall cases are devoted to


Of these the most interesting specimens are the remains of the Marine
Lizards known as ichthyosauri from the English lias formation. To the
right on entering, against the eastern wall of the room, the visitor
should first notice the fossil remains of various carnivorous animals,
including the skulls and other osseous wrecks of hyenas, bears, &c.,
and also, carefully screened in an additional glass case, hereabouts,
the lower jaw of a marsupial animal on a slab of oolitic limestone--an
early deposit, in which the highest class fossils generally found are
the tortoises.

In this room, however, the visitor will notice the progress of early
creation--first, the zoophytes; then the fish lizards; then the fossil
ruminants; then the fossil carnivora. Examples of these fossil remains
are all included in the room which the visitor has now reached. First,
he should examine the fossil remains of the ichthyosauri, or fish
lizards, ranged in the first three wall cases, particularly that
eighteen feet in length, deposited in the third case, one on the upper
shelf of the fourth case, and another on the upper shelf of the fifth
case. The case marked F contains fossils of a higher order than the
reptiles, as the bones and antlers of deer, found in later strata of
the earth's crust; and on the top of the case are the horn and skull
of a species of Texan bos. Having noticed these curious remains,
principally of extinct species of animal life, the visitor should at
once turn to the table cases which contain the last of the
illustrations of the mineral kingdom.


The southern tables include the numbers 24 to 30. The first table
contains a very attractive collection of minerals, including the
varieties of jasper; all kinds of opals--the sun opal, the semi-opal,
wood opal, and wood partially opalised. The second table (25) is
covered with varieties of Silicates of Lime, magnesia, and alumina;
also soapstone, keffekil, or the meerschaum, highly esteemed by
smokers, serpentine, chrysolite, &c. The third case (26) is devoted to
Silicates of Zinc, magnesia, serium, copper, iron, bismuth, and other
minerals; the fourth and fifth cases (27, 28) to zoolitic substances;
the sixth case (29) to various minerals including samples of jade or
nephrite, of which the tortoise, in the first room of this gallery, is
manufactured; and the seventh case (30) to felspathic substances,
including amazon stone from the Urals, and Labrador felspar. The
northern cases are numbered from 31 to 37. In the first case (31) are
varieties of felspar; in the second case (32) are micaceous and other
mineral substances; in the third case (33) are basaltic hornblende,
tremolite, &c.; in the fourth case (34) are varieties of asbestus,
which defies the action of fire; jeffersonite; jenite from the Elba,
&c.; in the fifth case (35) are various pyroxenic minerals; in the
sixth case (36) are various kinds of garnets, including the lime and
chrome varieties; and in the 37th case are the silicates, including
beryls, and the emerald.

Having brought his examination of the mineral kingdom to a conclusion,
the visitor should notice the fossil zoophytes and shells from various
deposits, arranged upon the other tables of the room. He will now
leave the mineral kingdom, and advancing once more westward, will
reach the fifth room of the gallery, which is entirely given up to
various fossil remains.


The first object that will arrest the visitor's attention on entering
this fine apartment is the gigantic skeleton of the extinct elk of
Ireland, which towers above every other object, from its pedestal,
placed in the centre of the room. It is seven feet in height, and
eight feet in length.

The southern wall cases and the southern table cases of this room are
covered with the fossil remains of various fishes. These are important
to the student as exhibiting high forms of animal life that existed at
the time of the formation of the most ancient strata in which organic
remains have been discovered. The visitor will notice the perfect
forms imprinted upon the various strata here exhibited.

In case 7 he will be struck with the fossil remains of some of the
sauroids or lizard-like fishes, only two species of which survive to
the present day, but which, in remote ages, abounded in the seas, and
were particularly voracious. On the middle shelf of the wall case
marked B the visitor should notice the fossil remains of the enormous
and powerful carnivorous fish called the rhizodus; also the macropoma,
like a carp in shape, in wall cases 13, 14; the fossil bremus in case
19; the extinct species of fossil carps, in cases 24, 25; the fossil
pikes in cases 24-27; and the fossil herrings in the middle of cases
25-27. Having noticed these fossils the visitor should examine the
wall case in the north-eastern corner of the room in which are
deposited many bones of mammalia from the Sewalik Hills, including the
teeth and jaws of an extinct species of camel; and the skull of the
remarkable livatherium; and on the top of the case are various bones
of the same extinct monster. The tops of the southern cases display
various fossil remains, including the head-bones of the asterolepis;
the skull and antlers of the Irish elk; and various skulls of
different kinds of oxen. The western wall case is filled with a
curious collection of various fossil parts of an extinct species of
rhinoceros found in this country, also skulls of the rhinoceros dug up
in Siberia. There is something impressive in the effect--the
atmosphere of this and the sixth rooms. As crowds of holiday people,
inhabitants of an island in which no dangerous living animals now
abide, wander amid the fossil remnants of ages when the most terrible
monsters must have lived in British waters and crawled upon British
ground, curious contrasts rise in the brains of contemplative men. The
mind wanders back to the age of reptiles--to times when no human
footprint had sunk into the earth--and the great agents of nature were
silently depositing in the congregating and shifting earths dead
images of the prevailing life. Ages roll on as the reptiles give place
to higher animal organisation developed in carnivora, the quickening
blood warms, and then as the sovereign of all the grades of life,
erect and gifted with reason, comes man. Something of this vast and
half-told progress is shown in the range of fossil cases with which
the visitor is engaged. He has passed the era of reptiles and fishes,
and on entering the sixth and last room of the gallery, he will notice
the higher series of fossils. The distribution of the


in this room is very striking; the central space being fully occupied
by the cast of the wonderful megatherium of the Pampas, and the
skeleton of the North American mastodon. The megatherium is described
zoologically as having combined the characteristics of the armadillo,
sloth, and ant-eater. In height it averaged eight feet; its feet were
a yard in length; and its claws were of terrible strength; it was
encased in an impenetrable scaly armour; and it lived upon roots. The
mastodon was of the elephant kind. But the gigantic tapir described by
Baron Cuvier, or the dinotherium, supposed by the Baron to have
reached the extraordinary height of eighteen feet, of which only
partial remains have been found, and are here deposited, is the
largest fossil mammalia yet discovered. It is said to have had the
habits of the walrus. The southern wall cases of the room contain a
fine collection of the fossil remains of elephants and mastodons,
chiefly from the Sewalik Hills of northern India. The third case (c)
is filled with Brazilian fossils of varieties of the megatherium,
monkeys, &c. On the right of the entrance from the fifth room are some
fossil mammalia from Montmartre arranged by Cuvier. Having wandered
about amid these suggestive wrecks of the remote past, the visitor
should approach the central upright case placed against the western
wall of this noble room. Here is a fossil of part of a human skeleton,
the possession of which our geologists owe to the fortune of war--it
having been found on board a French ship captured by an English
cruiser. As the visitor will perceive, the skull is wanting, but this
important part is said to lie in an American museum. However, the
spine, the thigh bones, and the ribs are distinctly visible. This
precious relic was extracted, with other human fossils, from the
cliffs of Guadaloupe, about forty years ago. It is the skeleton of a
savage slaughtered about one hundred and fifty years ago, and buried
in the spot where it was found. As yet, the period when man first
appeared upon the face of the earth is not told in geology. No fossil
human remains have been found even in the ancient tertiary strata. The
story of human life is revealed in other records, if not in the
sepulchral strata of the earth's crust. In this very Museum, which the
visitor now treads--in these cases of fossil bones which in themselves
are common material enough, the lordly intellect that has traced their
deep significance, proves that, of all animal types, man is the
highest and the strongest--removed from the most powerful mammoth and
megatherium--the bones of which he has re-fixed, that they may, as
stones, tell the story of their wonderful characters when alive. A
curious resurrection this, by Cuvier and others, of long ages ago, to
be pondered well. Not a holiday matter, to be stared at--an hour's
wonder--and then forgotten, as of no value in the markets of the
living world; but a great and a serious science, with more romances in
it than shelves of novels. To know something of the early state of the
world which we enjoy--to have some evidences given to us that before
human animals began to play their part here, wonderful monsters, part
mammalia, part birds, part reptiles, gambolled upon the scene; that
wingless birds stalked upon marshy grounds; that strange and ghastly
lizards crawled upon our fruitful Kent; and gigantic fish floated in
our tranquil waters, but no beautiful humming birds, majestic lions,
and graceful horses--only crawling and swimming life, everywhere
preying, and the early sea-weed rising in the sea because the polypus
wanted its food: to think of these things is to have some knowledge.
In these dim regions of the past, what glimpses are there of the great
eternal laws, the natural progresses, the continual upward tendency of
all things! And then, taking this revealed book of the past in his
hand, how a man may sit and ponder on all that is to be--dream of
times when some future geological hammer will be rapping at the clay
about the stone relics of his bones, and a man will gaze upon his
hardened anatomy with a mild and holy joy--when all that breathes and
moves to-day will be entombed in ancient strata of the earth, and busy
life will be carried on a hundred feet above the ruins of the present.
These thoughts dwell happily with good men.

Hence, proceeding on his way, the visitor returns east from the sixth
room into the fifth, and turns thence south, into the passage which
leads into the western gallery of the Museum, and immediately into


This room is always an attractive part of the Museum to the majority
of visitors. Here are arranged illustrative specimens of the arts and
customs of people who lived two thousand years before our era; and the
preserved bodies of men and women who trod the streets of Thebes and
Memphis, partakers of an advanced civilisation, when the inhabitants
of Europe were roaming about uncultivated wastes, in a state of
barbarism. Here are graceful household vessels, compared with the art
of which the willow pattern of the nineteenth century is a barbarism,
and fabrics of which modern Manchester would not be ashamed. Into this
room a vast collection of Egyptian curiosities is crowded; and, with
patience, the visitor may glean from an examination of its contents a
vivid general idea of the arts and social comforts of the ancient
people who built the Pyramids, and were in the height of their
prosperity centuries before the Christian era. The cases are so
divided and sub-divided that it is only by paying particular attention
to the numbers marked upon them that the visitor can hope to follow
our directions with ease. He will see, however, on first entering the
room, that the mummies are placed in cases occupying the central space
of the room; and that huge and gaudily painted coffins, having a
somewhat ghastly effect, are placed perpendicularly here and there on
the top of the wall cases. But the attention of the visitor on
entering this room is usually rivetted at once upon the human remains
of people that flourished more than two thousand years before our era.
The first thought that rises in the mind of the spectator on beholding
these wrecks of the human form, is,--why all this trouble, these
bandages, these scents, and these ornaments? It is as well, therefore,
to explain that the ancient Egyptians believed that there would be a
resurrection of the body hereafter. They believed that these poor
mummies would issue from these waxen bandages, and once more walk and
talk as of old; hence their gigantic excavations at Thebes for secure
tombs; hence the great Pyramids built to preserve the sacred forms of
their Pharaohs. Some of the ancient Egyptians retained the embalmed
bodies of their relations in their houses, enclosed in coffins, upon
which the face of the deceased was faithfully pourtrayed. Some
specimens of these representations are in the room, and some in the
Egyptian saloon below. The mummies of the poorer classes were not so
well preserved as those of the rich; therefore, remains of the plebs
have crumbled to dust, while those of the sacerdotal class, having
been deprived of the intestines, and the brain having been drawn
through the nose, having been filled with myrrh, cassia, &c., soaked
in natron,[7] and then securely bandaged, have remained in a
comparatively sound state to the present time, and may be found in
every museum of any note.


The first five cases to which the visitor would do well to direct his
attention are those marked from 46 to 50. In the first division is
deposited the mummy of a female, with a gilt mask over the head and an
oskh or collar about the neck; and mummies of children, and fragments
of coffins, with paintings of Egyptian deities upon them. In the
second division of the cases, lies some of the kingly dust of the
builder of the third pyramid, King Mencheres; also, part of his
coffin; the sides of a coffin decorated with drawings of deities;
clumps of mummied hair; and mummies of children. In the third division
are tesserae from Egyptian mummies of the Grecian period, with various
figures, including one of Anubis, the embalmer of the dead; a mummy of
Amounirion covered with a curious network of bugles in blue porcelain;
the upper part of a coffin with dedications to the Egyptian god
Osiris; a small coffin containing the mummy of a child; the mummy of a
female, Auch-sen-nefer, upon which is a scarabaeus, the sacred beetle
of the Egyptians. In the fourth division the principal object is the
coffin of the last-named mummy, with representations of various
deities, including Nutpe, or the Abyss of Heaven, a female figure with
a vase on her head; and linen wrappers from mummies of the Greek
period. Having examined these human relics of remote antiquity, the
visitor should pass at once to cases 63, 64, leaving the intermediate
cases for future examination, where he will find scraps and fragments
of the coffins, wrappers, and ornaments of various mummies. In the
first division are fragments of the mask of mummy coffins; fragments
from the lower end of coffins with the Egyptian bull Apis carrying a
mummy upon it; and hands (one holding a roll) from mummy coffins;
sepulchral sandals, one with a foreign figure bandaged, in token of
the enemies of the deceased being at his feet. In the second division
are a variety of sepulchral tablets to Osiris, Isis, Anubis, and other
Egyptian deities. The next twelve cases are filled with human mummies
and their coffins. In the first case is a mummy (1) of Pefaakhons, an
auditor of the royal palace during the twenty-sixth dynasty. This
mummy is about two thousand two hundred years old. Upon it the visitor
may notice the representation of Egyptian deities Osiris, the Hawk of
Ra, Isis, the embalmer Anubis, and the bull Apis. Mummy number two, in
this case, is that of a priest of Amoun, Penamoun, swathed in its
bandages, and here also is the outer linen case of the mummy of
Harononkh. The next case (66) is devoted to the mummy and coffin of
Tatshbapem: the figures here represented are the deceased praying to
Osiris, the usual figure of the embalmer of the dead, Anubis, and a
scarabaeus, or sacred beetle, made of beads. The next case contains
the coffin and mummy of a priestess of Amoun, named Kotbti. The hair
is attached to the mask of the face, as the visitor will observe, by
two ivory studs: there are wooden models of the hands and arms
decorated with bracelets and rings; each hand upon the coffin holds a
nosegay, and here again the black Anubis with, his golden face appears
in company with Thoth (a figure of a man with the head of an ibis),
the Mercury of the Egyptians, god of the moon and inventor of speech,
Isis, the Egyptian Ceres, and Nutpe, the Abyss of Heaven. The next
case (68) is the highly decorated coffin of the incense-bearer of the
abode of Noumra. Here the judgment scene of the Amenti is pourtrayed;
Osiris, in the shape of a sphinx; and other sacred figures. The
following case (69) contains a mummy (l) of a Theban priest of Amoun,
swathed in its outer linen coverings, which are decorated with various
Egyptian divinities, and with Asiatic captives at the feet: the second
object in this case is the coffin of an incense-bearer of the temple
of Khons, with the usual representations of the sepulchral deities.
Advancing in the regular order in which the cases are numbered, the
visitor will next notice in case 70 the inner coffin of a supposed
Egyptian king, with the bandages with inscriptions at the side. Three
mummies are placed in the next case (71) the first of which is
crumbling rapidly, the feet being already gone: and the bandages of
the second present pictures of Anubis embalming the deceased, and Isis
mourning over the ceremony. The next four cases (72-75) are also
filled with mummies and their appendages, of which the mummy and
coffin of a sacred functionary with a gilded face, and a picture of
the deceased adoring King Amenophis the First, in the 73rd case, and
the mummy and coffin of a musician of the Roman era of Egypt in case
74 are the most remarkable. The last case of mummies (76) contains
three mummies. The first is that of a priestess of Amoun, whose form
is discernible through the bandages, the feet of which are visible,
and the third is that of a woman named Cleopatra, of the family of
Soter, Archon of Thebes, with a comb in the hair, and upon the
bandages the usual sepulchral deities, including the black Anubis, and
in the next case is her coffin.

The visitor having completed his survey of the human mummies should
return to the series of cases marked from 52 to 58, in which he will
find a curious assortment of


Animal life was venerated by the Egyptians. Certain animals were
sacred in certain parts of the country; but the ibis and the hawk were
generally worshipped. The sacred birds were attended to by the
priests. Seven cases in this room are entirely filled with the mummies
of these sacred birds. Here are mummies of dog-headed baboons,
worshipped at Hermopolis, and sacred to Thoth; a head of the
cynocephalus from Thebes; mummies of jackals, sacred to the sepulchral
Anubis; the head of a dog in bandages, and one with the bandages
unrolled. Mummies of oats, the female being sacred to the goddess
Pasht, or Diana, and the male to the sun; a wooden figure of a cat
containing the mummy of one; and bronze cats from the cat mummy pits
of Abouseir. In the fifty-fourth and fifty-fifth cases are mummies of
parts of bulls; gazelles; unrolled heads of rams; and the mummy of a
lamb. In the two following cases (56, 57) are a variety of mummies of
the ibis, perhaps, the most sacred bird of the Egyptians, and the
emblem of Thoth: these include Sir J. G. Wilkinson's present of the
black ibis and two eggs; and conical pots containing mummies of the
ibis. The last case (58) contains some strange mummies, including
those of crocodiles, emblematic of the Egyptian Sevek, the subduer;
mummies of snakes sacred to Isis, in the shape of circular cakes; and
in case 60, the visitor may notice more specimens of mummy snakes and
fish. The next two cases are filled with the specimens of some dried
birds of ancient Egypt, some stamped with the names of Sesostris,
Amenophis, and Thothmes; and some from the Pyramids of Illahoun,
Howara, and Dashour. The visitor should now direct his attention to
the large collection of


These are interesting as illustrative of the Egyptian art of remote
period. These fragments occupy no less than twenty-four cases
(77-102). In the first case (77) the visitor should notice the coffin
of the mummy Cleopatra, ornamented on the outside with ordinary
emblematical drawings and on the inside with a Greek zodiac. The three
next cases (78-80) are filled with sepulchral tablets representing
various Egyptian divinities, among which the embalmer of the dead,
Anubis, ever figures prominently. The cases marked 81, 82, are filled
with a collection of rings of ivory, jasper, and cornelian; gold,
silver, and porcelain earrings and bracelets; signets with scarabaei,
or sacred beetles, in gold, silver, bronze, and some of the
Graeco-Egyptian period, in iron; necklaces, ornamented with various
religious symbols, in gold, jasper, amethyst; and in the 83rd case are
some specimens of old Egyptian glass. The next six cases (84-89) are
entirely devoted to sepulchral ornaments, including sepulchral tablets
showing priests adoring the sun, scenes of the embalmment of the dead,
and devotees adoring their favourite deities; pectoral plates; patches
from the network outer coverings of mummies, including the popular
scarabaei, wings, sceptres headed with, the lotus flower, and the
crowns of upper and lower Egypt, all in porcelain--all taken from the
coffins of various mummies. Case 90 contains the coffin of the archon
of Thebes, Soter, with the hawk of the sun on the top, and the
judgment scenes of the Amenti on the sides. The next three cases
(91-93) are filled with more specimens of Egyptian ornaments,
including four sides of a sepulchral box in wood (92), and sepulchral
tablets. The three cases next in succession (94-96) are filled with
amulets of all kinds, chiefly in the form of the scarabaeus, cut in
stone. The scarabaeus of the Egyptians was an emblem of the Divinity,
which the devout wore about their necks, and hung round the necks of
their dead relatives, as in the present day an effigy of the Virgin
rests often upon the cold breast of a Catholic corpse. As the visitor
will perceive, the collection of amulets comprehends representations
of various sacred animals, including the hedgehog. They are, in some
cases, nearly four thousand years old. The collection of scarabaei
includes one recording the marriage of Amenophis III. to Queen Taia,
and several bearing the name of Rameses, or Sesostris, according to
the Greeks. These ornaments are in various substances; the more
valuable being in cornelian, and basalt. The following three cases
(97-99) contain sepulchral tablets in wood, with various sacred
drawings upon them; and in the 100th case are inclosed the sepulchral
scarabaei, usually engraved with a prayer, and found inserted in the
folds of mummy bandages. Several are costly, as for instance that
marked 7875 of green jaspyr, said to have been extracted from the
coffin of King Enantef. The next two cases (101, 102) contain various
interesting fragments from mummies, including plain scarabaei and
other symbolic amulets, and ornaments inscribed with the names of
early Egyptian kings. Having noticed these revelations of Egypt's
sepulchres, the visitor should turn at once to the eastern wall cases
in which he will find a vast collection of


The innumerable little figures scattered throughout the first seven
cases are all Egyptian deities with their appropriate symbols,
including those in porcelain and stone with holes bored in them for
the purpose of attaching them to mummy bandages; those in wood which
were carved generally to decorate tombs, and those in bronze which
were the household gods. It would be impossible for the general
visitor to examine this collection in detail, but he may notice the
chief deities with the extraordinary jumble of human and brute life
which they present. First of all the visitor will remark, in the first
division of the first case, a sandstone figure, seven inches high,
seated upon a throne with lotus sceptres, and attendant deities; this
is Amenra, the Jupiter of the Egyptians; and in the same case Phtah,
the Vulcan of the Egyptians, with a gour, or animal-headed sceptre in
both hands, and an oskh, or semi-circular collar, about his neck; the
Egyptian Saturn, Sabak, with the head of a crocodile, with the shenti
about his loins; and Thoth, the Egyptian Mercury, with an ibis head
surmounted by a crescent moon. In the second division, or case, amid
the strange figures, the visitor should remark the Egyptian Juno,
Mout, or mother, represented in the act of suckling, and wearing the
pschent, or cap, worn only by deities and Pharaohs; the Egyptian
Minerva, Nepth, on a throne, with the teshr, or inferior cap on her
head; a human form with a goat's head, wearing a conical cap
ornamented with two ostrich feathers, and disk on goat's horns,
representing Num, or water, called Jupiter Chnumis by the Greeks;
Khem, the Egyptian Pan, standing on nine bows; a youthful figure with
one lock of hair, and supporting the lunar disk, representing Chons,
or the Egyptian Hercules; an Egyptian Venus, Athor, in gold,
cow-headed; Ra, the sun, seated, and hawk-headed; Nefer Atum, with the
lotus flower and plumes for head ornaments, from Memphis, and
reverenced as the guardian of the sun's nostril; and the Egyptian
Diana, Pasht, or Bubastis, a bronze female figure with the head of a
cat. The third division includes a group, in vitrified earth,
representing Amenra seated on a feathered throne; a triad, in blue
porcelain, of Amoun Mout, the mother, and Chons, or Hercules; a figure
in lapis-lazuli of the Egyptian Minerva, Nepth; Num, ram-headed,
walking; Ptah-Socharis standing upon two crocodiles, and supporting
two hawks on his shoulders; and Pasht, the Egyptian Diana,
lion-headed. The third and fourth cases are filled with more specimens
of ancient Egyptian deities. In the first division the visitor should
remark a stone figure of the Egyptian Pluto, Osiris Pethempamentes,
with the atf, or conical cap, on his head, and the curved sceptre, and
three-thonged whip in his hand; a figure in stone, seated, wearing a
conical cap, and holding the sceptre called a gom, which represents
the Egyptian Bacchus, Osiris Ounophris; and a painted wooden figure,
kneeling, and supporting a building and a basket, representing the
Egyptian Proserpine, Nepththys, mistress of the palace. The second and
third divisions contain some remarkable figures, including bronze
groups of Osiris-ioh, or the moon, with the lunar disk; a walking
figure of Anubis, with a jackal's head; the ibis-headed Thoth, and
Har-si-esi with a hawk's head, each pouring a flood of water upon the
earth; various hawk-headed and other deities, in the beautiful lapis
lazuli, blue porcelain, and green felspar, including Isis suckling her
son Horus, and walking with a throne on her head; Nephthys walking; a
porcelain Horus with the mystic lock; a blue porcelain plate,
representing a procession of female deities; a snake-headed deity,
also in blue porcelain; and a porcelain Thoth carrying a scarabaeus.
In the fourth division the visitor will at once notice a small
monument in calcareous stone, about one foot two inches in height,
with various deities represented upon it; also other monuments, one
decorated with a flying scarabaeus; Horus seated upon a throne flanked
with lions; and Pasht upon a throne supported by two negroes and two
Asiatics. The fifth case is devoted also to deities, which the visitor
will recognise, and here he should notice the terra-cotta figure, with
a buckler and sword, which represents the Mars of the Egyptians, known
as Onouris. The principal object in the sixth case is the mummy-shaped
coffin of a Theban priest, called Penamen, and grouped near it are
offering stands and fragments. The seventh case contains one or two
remarkable groups, including some sacred animals; statues of Horns and
the son of Horus supporting three vases upon goat's horns; various
figures of Khons, one standing on a lotus flower; an extraordinary
figure of Phtah-Socharis upon two crocodiles; Ta-ur, an erect
hippopotamus, with human breasts, and the back covered by a
crocodile's tail; Typhon, ass-headed; and the tortoise-headed guardian
of the third hall of the Amenti, recovered from the tombs of the kings
at Thebes. Having noticed these remarkable combinations and symbols of
the religious idea of ancient Egypt, the visitor should rapidly
examine the extraordinary collection of


which exhibit, in their infinite variety, a confusion of species so
ingenious and astonishing, that the spectator who has the least
zoological enthusiasm is utterly confounded by the strange sights that
are here. These animals are collected into four cases (8-11), the two
first of which are chiefly devoted to the quadrupeds; and the two last
to the birds. Among the former, or quadrupeds, the visitor will
particularly remark the cynocephali, or dog-headed baboons, in bronze
and stone; various lions; cats, with bored ears; jackals; shrew mice
bearing the winged world; bulls; gazelles; a kneeling ibex; a ram
walking with the conical cap on its head; a sow with pigs, in bronze;
a quadruped with a viper's head; sphinxes, one covered with a lotus;
and various models of hares, ram's heads, &c. These animals, that is
to say the sacred animals that actually had life, were waited upon by
the priests, and the pain of death was inflicted upon any person who
killed them. Among the birds are many figures of hawks, some with
human faces, others with the solar disk on the head, or the conical
cap; the ibis, variously decorated; snakes and fishes; uraei; wooden
fragments of vipers; frogs; scorpions; a bronze crocodile; scarabaei,
in lapis-lazuli and other substances; emblems of stability; a wooden
head of the hippopotamus from the Tombs of the Kings at Thebes;
vultures; and snakes.

Next to the cases of sacred animals are two (12, 13) devoted to small
statues of various kinds, in various substances. In the first division
of these cases are stone heads of priests, and officers of state with
long hair; and in the second, many curious objects are arranged,
including figures of men seated on thrones; a standing figure of a
Pharaoh; a long haired officer of state carved in ebony; rowers, with
moveable arms, taken from the models of boats. The third division
includes a dark green figure of a royal scribe, kneeling and holding a
tablet on which the prenomen of Rameses is visible; kings in various
attitudes; the bronze figure of a kneeling priest supporting a bowl
containing loaves; an altar of libation, with sacred animals, and
vases, cakes, &c.; various figures of scribes and others; a female
figure with a calf suspended about the neck by its legs, and the hand
resting upon the horns of a gazelle; reclining female figures; parts
of two females supporting monkeys; a seated female with blue hair; and
fragments of figures. The fourth division contains other Egyptian
figures. Having examined these two cases the visitor should approach
those in which the larger


and other curiosities are deposited. These cases are six in number
(14-19). From these cases the visitor will have an opportunity of
gathering a general idea of the domestic comforts of the ancient
Egyptians. Here are arranged their chairs, stools, and head-rests, as
they were used three thousand years ago. In the first division are, an
inlaid stool from Thebes, with a maroon-coloured seat; and a
high-backed chair, inlaid with ivory and dark woods, and a seat of
cordage, also from Thebes; but the most curious objects in this
division are the Egyptian pillows or head-rests, called uls. These are
hollowed clumps of wood or metallic substance, supported upon a
column, and used by the hardy ancients as rests for the head. In the
present day the poorest beggar would think one of these uls a sorry
rest for his weary head: yet some of the specimens have the titles of
men of distinction engraved upon them. Pillows, however, were not
unknown luxuries to the Egyptians, as a pillow of linen, stuffed with
water-fowl feathers, and deposited in the second division of the cases
under notice, testifies. In this second division are fragments of
couches, the decorations chiefly representing animals; fragments, in
calcareous stone, from the propylon of the brick pyramid of Dashour;
cramps, from Thebes and the temple of Berenice; iron keys from Thebes;
bronze hinges; porcelain tiles from the door of a pyramid; an
interesting stone model of a house; a model from Upper Egypt of a
granary, with a covered shed at one corner from which a man apparently
surveyed the operations of the workmen below. A Leghorn mouse, setting
aside the feelings of enthusiastic antiquaries


consumed the grain that lay in the model granaries. From this curious
relic the visitor will turn with some astonishment to an ancient
Egyptian wig: it is curled on the top and plaited at the sides, and is
in all respects a well manufactured article. It is a state wig, worn
only on great occasions--the Egyptians going habitually closely
shaven. In the third division of the cases are assembled various bulky
figures, which the visitor will recognise as various Egyptian deities:
there is Pasht with his lion's head; Num, ram-headed; Thoth,
ibis-headed, and others; also the figure of a Pharaoh, or Egyptian
king, with the teshr, a royal cap, all taken from the tombs of the
kings at Thebes.

In the two next cases (20, 21) the visitor will find various specimens
of the dresses and personal ornaments of the ancient Egyptians. In the
first division are a leather cap, cut into net-work from a single
piece, the ordinary male head-dress; a leather workman's apron: a
palm-leaf basket, and a linen cloth tunic that was found in it at
Thebes. The toilet vessels of various substances and shapes, used to
contain the metallic dye for the eye-lids, called sthem, worn by the
ancient Egyptians, including the cylindrical case, bearing the royal
names, are arranged in the second division, together with ivory,
porcelain, and other hair studs, and a pair of cord sandals from
Memphis. The third division is filled with varieties of Egyptian
mirrors, pins, combs, and sandals. The mirrors of the Egyptians
consisted of circular metallic plates, with variously ornamented
handles. The specimens in this case, which have lost their lustre
under centuries of rust, include one with a lotus handle, ornamented
with the Egyptian goddess of beauty, Athor; one with a tress of hair
as a design for the handle: and others ornamented with the head of the
much reverenced hawk. The pins are in bronze and wood, and were used
by the Egyptian ladies either to bind the hair or to apply the sthem
to the eyelids. The combs show a double row of teeth, and are of wood.
The shoes and sandals are of various kinds, but the greatest variety
of these articles is deposited in the fourth division of the cases.
These are made of palm leaves, wood, and papyrus: those with
high-peaked toes are the most ancient, having been worn in the
eighteenth dynasty, about fourteen centuries before our era.

The nine following cases (22-32) are devoted to the vases and other
domestic vessels of the Egyptians; an intervening case (27) being
filled with the cedar coffin of a prophet priest of Amoun in Thebes,
elaborately ornamented with various religious symbols. Some of the
vases are inscribed with royal names of early dynasties, proving their
great antiquity: some of the most elegant dating so far back as
fourteen centuries before our era. These specimens of ancient Egyptian
workmanship suggest a state of high artistic refinement of a remoter
antiquity than the Grecian, wrecks of which lie in the Elgin and other
saloons on the basement of the museum. Of the large collection here
arranged the visitor will only care to notice the more remarkable
specimens. The uses to which these cups and bowls and vases were put,
may be inferred partly from their shapes, and partly from the material
of which they were made; those of a costly kind being probably the
receptacles of the unguents with which the ancient Egyptians of both
sexes anointed their persons after the bath; and the larger and less
costly varieties being the wine vases, &c, in common use. Two ancient
vases are in the first division of the case (22, 23) one with the name
of a king before the twelfth dynasty, and the more modern one of the
twenty-fifth dynasty. In the second division the visitor should notice
the small aragonite vases, resembling wine-glasses; in the third case
a slab, upon which are six vases of various shapes in calcareous
stone; in the fourth a vase from Lower Egypt, with the quantity it
holds inscribed upon it. In the next five cases, 24-27 are filled with
cups, and bowls, small vases, and lamps, including pottery vases
shaped like the pine cone; blue porcelain vase with a pattern; a
highly ornamented porcelain jug; vases in the shape of the hedgehog
and the ibis; glass, long-necked vases; a large blue bowl, ornamented
with leaves; a porcelain vase of the time of Sesostris, ornamented
with petals of the lotus flower; polished terra-cotta vases; double
vases; a lamp shaped like a bottle: a vase for libations in
terra-cotta, with a spout shaped like a bird's beak; bottle-shaped
vase in painted pottery, with three handles, and symbolic decorations;
and curious perforated cups on feet. The three cases marked 30-32
contain also some curious vases and lamps, including a vase shaped
like a woman playing a guitar, from Thebes; a vase issuing from a
flower, in red pottery; a, lamb reclining as a vase; gourd-shaped
vases; earthenware bowls covered with various deities; and lamps
ornamented with toads, boars' heads, children, and leaves, in relief.
Other vases are arranged here and there about the five next cases
(33-37) together with agricultural implements; and, strange to say,
viands prepared perhaps for some of the mummies that lie in the
immediate neighbourhood, together with odd bits and fragments, all
illustrative of times before Alexander had bequeathed the Ptolemies to
Egypt. In the first two divisions, the remarkable objects are various,
bronze buckets with ornamental outlines of various deities and sacred
animals; a rectangular bronze table, perforated to receive vessels;
bronze lamps, &c.; and in the third division the visitor should
certainly notice the two-staged stand of papyrus and cane from a
private tomb at Thebes, with trussed ducks and cakes of bread upon it;
baskets containing fruits, as figs, pomegranates, dates, cakes of
barley, &e. The fourth division contains some old agricultural
implements, including the fragments of a sickle found by Belzoni under
a statue at Karnak; a wooden pick-axe; an Egyptian hoe; a yoke of
acacia wood; eight steps of wood from a rope-ladder, and specimens of
palm-fibre rope.

Passing from these interesting relics of ancient manufacturing skill,
the visitor will next arrive before two cases (36, 37) of Egyptian
fragments of tombs, and weapons of war, illustrating the means of
killing and the fashion of burial. In the first division are various
goms, or Egyptian sceptres and staffs, some of ebony and some of wood;
and the blade of a war-axe, with the name of Thothmes III. inscribed
upon it. A variety of offensive weapons are arranged in the second
division, including bronze war-axes, one with a hollow silver handle;
daggers; bows and arrows, the arrows pointed with triangular bronze
heads, and fragments of flint-arrow-heads; fowling-sticks; handsome
bronze bladed knives, with agate and other handles, some worked with
gold, &c. The fragments in the third division include a knotted rope;
a piked club; wooden fan handles; wooden paddles carved with heads of
jackals; a mast for the model of a boat; and in the fourth division
are a curious cuirass and helmet, from the tombs of Manfaloot,
fashioned from a crocodile skin. At this point is another intermediate
case containing a mummy, coffin, and boards. The coffin is shaped like
a mummy, with a green face, and Netpe, between Isis and Nephthys on
the breast, with the deceased being introduced to the deities, among
whom he is to be divided by Thoth. This coffin was presented to the
Museum by George III.

Having peered into the fragmentary establishments of ancient Egypt,
followed the contemporaries of Sesostris into their dining-rooms, even
noticed specimens of their dishes, and seen them in their waxen
winding-sheets, the visitor may now pass to the next case (39) and
notice some of the remains of the materials by the means of which they
recorded their actions, and traced their lineaments. Here are
displayed the ancient Egyptian pens and pencils, colours and ink, all
shrivelled and discoloured with the mould of centuries, but remaining
still to bear witness to the early love of knowledge and of art, that
urged the Egyptian scribe and the Egyptian artist to fashion them. In
the first division are the rectangular pallets, with grooves for the
wooden pens or reeds, and hollows for the colour or ink; and here,
too, are the kash, or pens used by the ancient scribes. The pallets
have inscriptions upon them; on one there is an invocation to the
goddess of writing. Fragments of one or two colours, with the
palm-leaf baskets in which they were deposited are also in this case;
together with stands with small colour vases; slabs with colour jars;
mullets for grinding, a basket with paint-brushes made of palm-fibres;
and upon a thin piece of cedar wood is a portrait of an Egyptian
female of the Greek period. Amidst other minute objects lie Egyptian
folding wax tablets for writing; a cylindrical ink-box, with a chain
attached to hold the pen case; seals of various kinds with impressions
of bulls, jackals, and hieroglyphics; portion of a calendar on stone;
and fragments of Egyptian writing on stone, and chiefly from tombs.
These fragments illustrative of the Egyptian character are continued
in the first two divisions of the cases marked 40, 41, including a
panel and stud from an ebony box inscribed with the titles of
Amenophis III. and his daughter; and a fragment in ebony, with an
inscribed dedication to Anubis. Among the miscellaneous objects also
in these divisions are various boxes in wood, papyrus, one veneered
with white and red ivory, some inscribed with names; and one with a
pyramidal cover, veneered with ivory and ornamented with figures and
birds. The next or third division is filled with varieties of Egyptian
spoons. Some of these are curious. They are chiefly of wood; but some
are of ivory. Among them are wooden spoons, shovel, egg and
cartouche-shaped; one with the handle carved in the shape of lotus
flowers; one with a moveable cover from Memphis; one with the handle
representing a gazelle, and within fish demolishing a water plant,
from Thebes; one in the shape of a fish; one circular, with a lotus
handle and a hawk cynocephalus on its edge; one with the form of a
fish for a bowl, and a fox seizing the fish for a handle; and others
equally curious in point of design. The last, or fourth division of
the case is full of ancient Egyptian building materials, including
fragments of painted plaster; stamps for bricks; palm-fibre brushes
for colouring walls, and smoothing tools.


are disposed through the two cases (42, 43) which the visitor should
now examine. In the first division are some palm-leaf baskets; wooden
mallets, one found in the masonry of the great pyramid at Abooseir;
and staves; in the second division a large variety of curious tools is
exhibited, including Egyptian saws, bradawls, chisels, an adze, axe
blades, knives of bronze, generally inscribed with hieroglyphics,
hones, bronze nails; mysterious bronze tools, the use of which is
unknown, all interesting to those who are in any way interested in the
history of the wonderful people who inhabited the valley of the Nile,
and wielded these tools there, when our island was an untilled desert.
The third division of the case contains strange handles decorated with
the popular lotus flower, fragments of an ivory gorget, with figures
of various animals oddly grouped upon it; various fragments of
carving, and pedestals bearing inscriptions; and in the fourth, or
last, division of the case are various baskets, coloured and plain.
The first division of the next case (44, 45) is also given up to
palm-leaf baskets of various descriptions, which the visitor should
examine as illustrating the perfection to which the workers of the
palm-leaf brought their handicraft. Leaving the tools and baskets
behind, the visitor will now approach the


which occupy the second division of the case. It is well known that
music was generally cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, even before
Terpander had devised a system of musical notation: and that in their
religious ceremonies music was much used. The sistrum, of which the
visitor will notice one or two samples in the division, was the
instrument most generally used. It consisted of wires suspended
through the sides of an arch, to which a handle, generally highly
ornamented with the head of Athor, as in the one in the case, is
fixed:--the wires terminating with heads of sacred animals, upon which
rings were suspended that produced sounds by being shaken backwards
and forwards.

There are also some Egyptian harps; portions of flutes found in the
northern brick pyramids at Dashour; a pipe with seven burnt holes in
it; and a pair of bronze cymbals tied together by a band of linen. The
division next to that in which the musical instruments are arranged,
is filled with


Perhaps, no portion of this interesting Egyptian room so forcibly
impresses the spectator with the truth and reality of its revelations,
as these rude toys, that must have been handled by prattling Egyptian
children, when all was dark throughout Europe, save on the shore of
the southern sea, where glimmered fitful lights of awakening
civilisation, and Homer was enshrining the poor knowledge of his
period in the splendid fancies of his poet soul. Not vastly different
from the rude dolls of the present century must these of Egypt have
been when fresh from the workman's hand. They are in a very disabled
state now, however; one being a rude representation of an Egyptian
Miss Biffen, altogether guiltless of legs; and others, the flat
variety, having hair made of clay beads. In the case with these relics
are porcelain models of eggs, balls, fruit; wooden fish; leather and
palm-leaf balls, stuffed; dice, and various draughtsmen, with the
heads of cats; and one with the figure of a jackal. The last two
divisions of the case under notice are entirely filled with a variety
of specimens of


This division is always interesting to visitors who have any knowledge
of the essential excellences of textile fabrics. There can be no doubt
of the high repute in which the linens of ancient Egypt were held of
old; but the samples which have remained in a state of preservation up
to the present day, being mostly bandages of the coarse cloths from
mummies, it is hardly possible to estimate fairly the excellence of
the fabrics with which, the great men of ancient Egypt adorned their
persons and those of their wives. However, one or two samples of
linen, as fine as the celebrated muslins of India, remain, and the
visitor should notice particularly those clothes in the case with fine
blue selvage. In the case also are part of the bandages of an Egyptian
mummy of the Greek period, and a sample of ancient Egyptian linen
bleached by the modern process. With these specimens are skeins of
thread, spindles, and knitting-needles; bronze sewing needles; and a
hackle for flax-dressing. With this case the visitor closes his
examination of the wall cases of the Egyptian room. On taking a
general survey of the room, the objects that will first attract his
attention are the casts of the remarkable sculptures from the entrance
to the temple at Beit-onally near Kalabshe, placed over the wall-cases
against the eastern and western walls. These are faithful
representations of the painted sculpture for which the ancient
Egyptians were famous, about thirteen centuries before our era. The
specimens in the room represent the triumphs of the second Rameses.
The cast against the eastern wall is in two distinct compartments. In
the first, Rameses, accompanied by his sons, is driving his vanquished
Ethiopian enemies into a wood: in the second part the conqueror is
investing the vanquished Ethiopian prince with a gold chain, and
behind are the spoils of war, and Ethiopians leading strange oxen to
the victor; while, in the lower division, the vanquished prince is
presenting a load of tributary treasure to the king, followed by a
crowd of Ethiopians, leading all kinds of animals. These paintings, as
the visitor will observe, are painted without regard to light and
shade, the figures are huddled together, and the drawing is of the
most rigid description. The casts against the western wall are in five
compartments, and celebrate the victories of Rameses over the Asiatic
nations. In the first compartment Rameses is receiving his Asiatic
captives; in the second he is about to decapitate a prisoner; in the
third, in his kingly cap, he is defeating an Asiatic army, who are
represented in active flight; in the fourth he is attacking an Asiatic
fortress; and in the fifth the king is again receiving Asiatic
prisoners. Having noticed these remarkable antiquities, the visitor
should examine the plaster models, placed upon the central table of
the room, of the obelisks of Karnak and Heliopolis. Above the door is
a leather cross, from the dress of a Copt priest, supposed to be about
twelve hundred years old. Above various cases are placed mummy
coffins, and figures of deities too large for the cases; but the
mummy-case deposited over case 31 is worth special attention. It is
scooped out of the trunk of a tree, has the face painted black, a
vulture on the chest, and other ornaments and symbols. Near it, over
cases 30-32, are deposited four sepulchral vases of a military
officer, containing the parts removed from the body in the process of
embalming. Each vase was sacred to a deity; the first, containing the
stomach and appendages, was sacred to Amset the first genius of the
dead; the second, containing the lesser intestines, was presided over
by the second genius of the dead, Hapi; the lungs and heart, deposited
in the third vase, were sacred to Siumutf, the third genius; and to
the fourth genius the vase containing the liver and gall-bladder was

The visitor having noticed these objects has done with the Egyptian
room. It is well, however, to pause upon the threshold, and before
dismissing these interesting glimpses into the life, long since
scattered as dust, upon the soil of Egypt, to call to mind the
prominent points of the impressive story that may be read in the room
he is about to quit. He may wander back through the histories of ages
upon ages; pause before the revelations of Herodotus; and recall the
mighty romances of Homer; and, pausing even there, where all is so
dim, and little understood, turn once more to these fragmentary
monuments of a civilisation that existed even centuries before the
great Greek poet. So silently, for us of the present hour, time rolled
by in those days, that we fail to grasp the measure of the distance
which separates our fret and toil of the nineteenth century, from that
busy valley of the Nile; when the second Rameses reigned in all his
glory; when precise artists were ruling geometrical lines upon stones
to make their careful drawings; and painters, with their palm-fibre
brushes, all unconscious of the critics that lay yet silently in the
womb of time, who would shovel the dust and dirt of centuries from
before their works, and tell the story of Rameses from these rude
revelations. Curious thoughts crowd in every busy brain, before these
strange relics. Lost in the depths of the past, the mind, with a leap,
often grasps at the future; and men will be found seriously saying to
themselves, as they notice how we depend for our knowledge of ancient
Egyptian fabrics upon the shrouds of ancient Egyptians,--what, if we
looked forward, and in the remote centuries that are rolling toward
us, see all our vast and busy Lancashire some layers underground, and
archaeologists busy with our winding sheet! Well, at the least, these
thoughts are not idle. It does all of us good to think often of what
has been, and to dream of the future to which we are driving "down the
ringing grooves of time"--to think sometimes of the fine people who
had their glorious days, when London was distributed, untouched by
human hands, in clayey strata, and remote stone quarries; and
hereabouts, to the minds of the Greeks, lay the islands of the

The visitor should now proceed southward into the room called The
Bronze Room. Here are collected the ancient bronzes of which the
Museum trustees are in possession; including specimens of the fine
castings of ancient Greece, which, with all our modern contrivances,
we cannot surpass in the present day. The cases to the left are filled
with a supplementary collection of the remains of ancient Egyptian
art, for which space could not be found in the Egyptian room. These
occupy no less than twenty-six cases. The first eleven cases (1-11)
are filled with various sepulchral fragments in various substances,
and porcelain and terra-cotta figures, which the visitor who has just
emerged from the Egyptian room will again recognise. Here the strange
figures of the Egyptian deities occur again and again; but the visitor
should pause before the case 10, 11, in which are deposited models of
the Egyptian funeral boats, in stone and wood, from Thebes, and on the
fourth shelf a Roman caricature on papyrus, representing lions and
goats playing at dice, and foxes driving geese. In the Egyptian cases
are more specimens of cynocephali, jackal, and hawks' heads, models of
the four sepulchral vases, in pottery and wood; more mummy coffins,
fragments of inscribed pottery, large Egyptian terra-cotta vases, and
in cases 24, 25, are deposited some fragments in terra-cotta, and
bronze excavated by Mr. Layard, in ancient Assyria. Having glanced at
these Egyptian cases the visitor should turn at once to the collection


which fill the cases numbered from 29 to 112. The visitor particularly
interested in Greek and Roman art, might here spend an entire day.
Bronze, a mixture of copper and tin, was used by the ancients for the
manufacture of all kinds of edge-tools, long before iron was smelted
from the earth in which it is invariably found; and mineralogists of
the present day are surprised to see the works which the ancients
executed with a material, that no modern workmen could use as a
cutting medium. Stone masons' chisels, and fine edged weapons of war,
were made of bronze in those days. The collection of bronzes which the
visitor is now about to examine, cannot be said to be a perfect
collection; yet it contains some beautiful specimens, and one that is
said to be the finest bronze in Europe. The antiquarian pauses with
delight before these marvellous specimens of ancient skill; and
reflecting upon the difficulties which beset the caster in bronze, it
is astonishing to see the precision and the exquisite finish with
which the artists of ancient Greece and Rome performed their labours.
Some of their bronze manufacture were hammered, but most of those
works from which we derive a knowledge of their greatness as artists
were cast. Of those colossal bronzes which were studded about Rome,
Athens, and Delphos, few remain at the present day. The material of
which they were composed was too valuable to escape the clutch of
barbaric conquerors; therefore the bronzes which remain are chiefly of
a small size, but still sufficiently perfect to assure us of the great
works that filled every open place in the towns of ancient Greece and
Rome. In these cases the visitor will find a great number of bronze
utensils and personal ornaments: metal mirrors; lamps; incense
vessels, or thuribula; the saucers for pouring libations, called
paterae; tripods of all kinds and variously ornamented; candelabra;
and the clasps of the Romans called fibulae.

Beginning with the first case, 29, 30, the visitor will first remark
three ancient vases or amphorae, and five jugs, from Corfu, aged about
five centuries before our era; and in the same cases, on the third and
fourth shelves, Athenian vases, variously ornamented with geometrical
designs, animals, and birds, in the most ancient style. The next case
also contains vases of the most ancient style, from Athens, including
a fine specimen surmounted by two horses. In cases 33, 34, are further
specimens of the vases of ancient Greece, on some of which red figures
are traced upon a black ground, and on others a red ground is adopted,
with the ornamental figures in black: among the ornaments on those
vases the visitor should notice the cupids represented in blue and
white on one of these vases, and on another the figure of a crawling
boy, with a low stool and an apple before him. The vases in the next
cases (35, 36) contain some fine specimens of Athenian art about the
time of Pericles, with figures traced red and black, representing
Orestes and Electra at the tomb of Agamemnon. In these cases also are
some Athenian glass vases, and opaque glass vessels from Melos;
terra-cotta bas-reliefs, representing Bellerophon destroying the
Chimera; Perseus destroying the gorgon Medusa, and other classical
subjects; and upon the third shelf, amid unguent boxes, terra-cotta
lamps, and a terra-cotta doll, is a curious vase containing bones,
with a silver Athenian coin, attached to the jar by careful relatives,
to pay for the deceased's transit across the Styx. A collection of
terra-cotta figures are arranged upon the four shelves of case 37.
These include an ancient comic actor as Hercules; Athenian ladies
bearing water jugs, called Hydriophorae; Ceres; a dancing group from
Athens; animals; stools; and dancing figures from the south of Italy.
No less than three hundred and thirty-three handles from the wine
vessels or amphorae of ancient Rhodes are deposited in cases 38, 39.
Some are inscribed with the names of the chief magistrate. Varieties
of vessels in terra-cotta fill the two first shelves of the cases 40,
41, from Etruria; upon the third shelf are fragments of large bronzes,
including the staff of AEsculapius with the serpent; and the bronze
groups distributed upon the fourth shelf include three figures of
Hercules; and two figures supposed to be a Ptolemy and his queen
arrayed as Fortune. The cases 42-45 are filled with bronze weapons,
including spear-heads from the sepulchres of Etruria; arrow-heads and
bronze swords of the Roman time; standards with the famous Roman
eagles; helmets, including a famous one dedicated to Jupiter Olympius,
by Hiero I. on the occasion of gaining a victory over the Tuscans at
Cumae, upwards of four centuries before our era; and one found at
Olympia, dedicated by the Argives; bronze plates, and military belts,
from Vulci. The next six cases (46-51) are filled with various Grecian
and Roman antiquities, of which the visitor should particularly notice
amid bronze amphorae, tripods, glass beads, weights in the shape of
busts, sacrificial knives, and bronze hatchet heads, three cistae or
boxes, with classical groups in relief upon them, the subject of one
being Hercules grasping serpents. These cistae were the toilette boxes
of the ancients. Here too the visitor should remark the hearth (a
tripod) with charcoal still upon it, with fire-irons and cooking
utensils; and a variety of tripods variously ornamented with sphinxes,
Boreas carrying away Orithyia; and leaden vases from Delos, holding
the ashes of the dead. An interesting collection of candelabra, from
the Etruscan sepulchres, is arranged in the next cases (52, 53). These
candelabra were highly esteemed throughout ancient Greece. They are
decorated chiefly with mythological subjects, and have, attached to
them, vessels for dipping into larger vessels. Those in the next case
(54) are of the Roman period. Having glanced at the censers and bronze
lamps in the next cases (56-57) the visitor may pass on to the case
numbered 58-64, in which is a large collection of bronze vessels,
including unguent vases, which are the most highly decorated,
braziers, cauldrons, and jugs. The two next cases contain a great
number of bronze figures of various heathen deities, representations
of mythological events. Here are, a winged Victory holding an egg;
figures of Juno Sospita; figures for mirrors; Apollos; a giant hurling
a rock; one of the Gorgons; figures of Mars, in the old grotesque
style; a reclining Dionysus, drinking; satyrs; Aphrodite; Aurora
bearing off Tithonus or Cephalus; Hercules; Ariadne playing on the
lyre; Hercules killing the Maenalian stag; Minerva; and other figures,
all drawn from Grecian mythology. These cases present, at a glance,
more than any other in the collection, the various excellences of
ancient bronzes. The ancient mirrors are arranged in the next two
cases (68, 69)--one polished to show their old effect; and in the 70th
case are Etruscan and Roman fibulae or clasps in general use in the
olden time, in lieu of buttons or hooks. The drainings of the lake of
Monte Falterona brought to light the most attractive objects of the
next three cases (71-73), including the fine Etruscan statue of Mars,
the large statue of a youth; and here also are a group of Aurora
bearing off Memnon; and a satyr and a bacchante for the top of a
candelabrum. Finely ornamented mirrors, with figures chased,
bas-relief, representing, among other subjects, Minerva before Paris;
Achilles arming before Thetis; a winged Hercules killing the Lernean
Hydra; Juno and her rivals preparing for the judgment of Paris;
Hercules bearing off a female figure; Venus holding a dove, as a
mirror handle; the Dioscuri, Clytemnestra and Helen; Aphrodite nursing
Eros; and Dolon, Ulysses, and Diomed. Bronze figures of Greek and
Roman divinities fill the next case, including a silver group of
Saturn devouring his children; no less than nineteen Jupiters, one in
silver with a goat at his side. These are continued in the following
case (78), including Isis; Ganymede and the eagle; Terpsichore;
Apollos; Junos; a fine Apollo from Paramythia; a Triton, with crab's
claws, and a face turning into sea weed; Dianas, one, in silver,
holding a crescent; and Neptune, distinguishable by his trident. Three
cases, next in order of number (80-82), are devoted to ancient Roman
horse-trappings. Busts of Minerva occupy the most prominent positions
in the 83rd case; and in the next case (84) are no less than
twenty-one figures of Mercury, one of which, distinguishable by the
gold collar about the neck, is reputed the most beautiful bronze in
Europe. These figures of Mercury are in various attitudes. Here the
cocks, emblematic of the athletic games, are before him--there he is
flying on Jupiter's eagle; and near these figures are arranged
twenty-eight figures of Venus; in one place the goddess is rising from
the sea, in another she is arranging her sandal, or riding her swan.
Playful Cupids, thirty-five in number, and gambolling variously,
occupy the position next in order to the figures of Venus. Here the
little god is running, there he bears the anointing-box of
Venus--there he is laughing, in another corner his laughter is turned
to tears, and in another he is ingloriously intoxicated. In another
direction he is exhibited in his amiable moods, feeding a hare with
grapes, or toying with a swan. The next case (86) contains an
assortment of ancient glazed articles including glass studs, buttons,
&c., from the sepulchres of Etruria; bronze sandals from Armentum; and
glazed ware of various shapes. In the 87th case are deposited four
curious fragments from Perugia, of chariot chasings, representing
various warlike emblems and doings; and an ancient scabbard engraved
with an outline of Briseis led by Achilles. Deities fill the next case
(89), including fourteen figures of Harpocrates; a Pan; and figures of
Bacchus. Silenus, with silver eyes and a crown set with garnets, will
be found in the next case (90) where Hercules is strangling the Nemean
lion; and another Silenus kneeling on a wine-skin. Cupid is seizing
the weapons of the strong Hercules while the latter sleeps; in the
next case (91), here also he is grappling with the Maenalian stag, and
Pan shows his goat's legs. The 92nd, 93rd and 94th cases are filled
with various mirrors from Athens; the anciently prized knuckle bones
of a small animal; bronze earrings from a tomb in Cephalonia; sling
bullets found at Saguntum; part of a lyre, and wooden flutes
discovered near Athens; a gilt myrtle crown; glass mosaics from the
Parthenon; iron knives and fetters from Athens; a jar that once held
the famed Lycian eye ointment; one of the bronze tickets of a judge;
and leaden weights. Hercules is vigorously at work in the groups of
the next case (95), and herein are figures of Victory and Fortune; two
sphinxes, and other groups. The head of Polyphemus appears prominently
in the 96th case; and in the remaining cases miscellaneously grouped,
are ancient dice, some of which have been loaded, suggesting the
antiquity of roguery; ivory hair pins; bronze needles; glass beads;
fragments of cornelian and other cups, and glass; bronze figures of
animals; inlaid and enamel work; styli for writing upon wax; ancient
medical instruments; and old Roman finger-rings.

Over the Egyptian cases are deposited fac-similes of paintings of a
tomb at Vulci, discovered in the year 1832. These represent various
ancient games of racing and leaping. Over the cases 38-58 are other
fac-similes from a tomb, also at Vulci, in a mutilated condition; and
against the southern wall are the ceilings of the tomb. Having
examined these things the visitor should proceed on his southward
course, and, passing through the southern entrance of the bronze room,
enter the fine apartment, known as the Etruscan room, in which the


are arranged. These are a series of earthen vases discovered in Italy.
These painted vases are the spoil from the tombs of the ancient
Etruscans. The Etruscans inhabited the northern parts of Italy, and
flourished there in a state of comparative civilisation, when the rest
of the Peninsula, save where the Greeks were busy on its southern
shore, was in a barbarous state. The Etruscan tombs present various
degrees of ornament according to the wealth of their occupant, but in
all of them painted vases of some description are found. It is
maintained by many learned men that these beautiful vases were not a
native manufacture, but were bought by the Etruscans of the Greeks of
Southern Italy, who imported them from the famous potteries of Athens.
The Greek inscriptions on some of these vases, and the Greek subjects
from which the decorations are taken, tend strongly to confirm this
hypothesis. It is, however, altogether a mystery why the Etruscans
surrounded their dead with these vases. They were not used to hold
human bones, nor to contain food for the deceased; but that the
Etruscans held them in high estimation as sepulchral ornaments is
certain from the fact that they are found universally in their tombs,
the finer and more elaborate in the sepulchres of the rich, and the
coarser and plainer kinds in the graves of the poor. The visitor will
do well to walk carefully round this room in which the Etruscan vases
belonging to the Museum are deposited. They are arranged in the
supposed chronological order in which they were manufactured; the
clumsy and coarse ware being placed in the first case, as exhibiting
the dawn of the potter's art, and the more elaborate and
highly-wrought specimens being arranged in regular order of
improvement in the succeeding cases.

The first five cases are filled with clumsy black ware, ornamented in
some cases with figures in relief, and extracted from tombs discovered
on the site of the oldest Etruscan towns, which circumstance has led
antiquaries to allow the Etruscans the honour of having fashioned
these rude specimens of pottery; but as the samples display a higher
degree of skill they refuse to allow the Etruscans the merit of having
improved the clumsiness of their early handiwork. In the sixth and
seventh cases are pale vases with deep red figures, chiefly of animals
upon them, chiefly from Canino and Vulci. The exertions of the Prince
of Canino in excavating on his estate in search of Etruscan tombs and
their treasures are well known; and the enthusiasm with which Sir
William Hamilton, while on his embassy at Naples, bought the
curiosities of Etruscan tombs, should be remembered. Few Englishmen,
however, can think pleasantly of those times when the Hamiltons were
at Naples, when Lady Hamilton did her country great services; then
recall the picture of the poor woman fed by a charitable neighbour at
Calais, think of Horatio's last words, and then of the country that
forgets the woman's service, and the hero's dying words. Well, the
visitor may pass on his way amidst these spoils from Etruscan tombs,
and forgetting the family to whom we owe many of them, serenely watch
the gradual improvement in the manufacture. The best have black
figures upon a dark ground. The glass cases in the centre of the room
contain those vases which are painted on both sides. On the walls of
the room above the cases are fac-similes of paintings from some of the
Etruscan tombs. Some of them represent dances and games; but one
represents a female in the act of covering the head of a man who has
just expired, while a male figure is drawing a covering over the feet,
and two spectators are in attitudes of grief in the neighbourhood.
Having roamed amid the spoils of Etruscan tombs, the search after
which is now a settled business in parts of Italy, the visitor may
take a southerly direction through two empty rooms into that at the
southern extremity of the western wing. Here a few miscellaneous
objects are deposited, amongst which in the eastern cases he should
notice some curious old enamels, and the frescoes from St. Stephen's
Chapel, Westminster, and on the floor, a model of the Victory. He
should then turn in an easternly direction into the Ethnographical
room, which, to the visitor without a guide has very much the
appearance of a confined curiosity shop; but on inspection proves to
be an interesting compartment of the Museum, in which curiosities
illustrative of the civilisation of various countries and continents
are arranged. Before applying himself to the wall cases, however, the
visitor would do well to advance to the eastern extremity of the room,
noticing the objects deposited in the central space by the way. These
consist of Flaxman's cast of the shield of Achilles; a model of the
Thugs fashioned at Madras by a native artist; a model of a moveable
temple; her Majesty's present to the museum of a great Chinese bell,
surmounted by the Chinese national dragon, and decorated with figures
of Buddh, from a temple near Ningpo; and various cromlechs or
sepulchres of the ancient Britons, ruder in their construction than
those with which the visitor has lately busied himself. Having arrived
at the eastern end of the room, the visitor should advance to the
northern wall cases, and begin his inspection. He will at once remark
that the first five cases (1-5) are devoted to


These are distributed with particular regard to the economy of space,
and accordingly the visitor may see at a glance objects huddled
together, the uses of which are of the most opposite nature. On the
first shelf of cases 1, 2, are distributed the tally of a Chinese
soldier describing his age and place of residence; ladies' gloves;
military boots; bows and arrows; and the mock spears shown above the
walls of Woosang in 1842 to intimidate the British forces. The second
shelf exhibits the grotesque varieties of Chinese deities and leaders
of sects; and in other parts of the cases are endless Chinese
curiosities, including Chinese scales and weights; padlocks; mirrors;
a pair of Chinese spectacles in a leather case; shoe brushes from
Shanghai; chopsticks; a brass pipe; Chinese mariners' compasses; a
Chinese bank-note, value one dollar; Chinese needles; agricultural
implements; joss sticks; the sea-weed eaten by the Chinese; ancient
bronze bell; vase in shape of a lotus leaf; and an advertisement for
quack pills. The visitor should remark the great royal wicker shield
that is on the top of the case, ornamented with the head of a tiger;
and the model of a junk. The third case contains Chinese divinities,
of which the goddess of Mercy, Kwan-yin, on the first shelf, is the
most noticeable figure. The two last cases 4 and 5 given up to
Chinese, are filled chiefly with Chinese musical instruments,
including the pair of sticks used by Chinese beggars as castanets to
attract attention to their petitions; Chinese shuttlecocks, made of
feathers and lead, the Chinese battledores being the soles of their
feet, suggestive of vigorous exercise; fly-flaps; surgical
instruments; paints; boxes; and Japanese shoes. Over these cases is a
circular stand, in twenty-two parts, representing, in relief, the
chief deities of the Hindoo mythology. The four next cases (6-9) are
given up to


Among the miscellaneous collection of objects crowded into these four
cases are many figures of Buddha in earthenware, wood, alabaster and
ivory; bronze divinities of the Hindoo Pantheon; Hindoo playing cards;
copper-plates containing grants of land; a Hindoo mathematical
instrument; a powder-horn from Burtpoor; Affghan cloak and pistol;
bows and arrows; baggage and accommodation boats; and early Arabian
bronze water ewers inlaid with silver. Over the Indian cases are
figures of Hindoo deities, including a bronze figure of Siva with four
arms, and Lakshmi, the wife of Vishnu. The four following cases
(10-13) are chiefly filled with


of a miscellaneous description, and from various parts of the
continent. These include, in cases 10, 11, Nubian and Abyssinian
baskets; Arabic quadrants; Egyptian water-bottles; sandals, and a
variety of other manufactures from Ashantee, including a shuttle, and
specimens of native cotton cloth; an iron bar used as a medium of
exchange, and worth about one shilling on the African coast; gourd
boxes and calabashes; cloths and other curiosities collected on the
Niger Expedition; specimens of native silk from Egga; a skin bottle
for holding galena to colour the eyelids; opaque glass beads from
Abyssinia; all kinds of arms from French Guiana, Fernando Po,
Abyssinia, and Nubia, including a Nubian spear, enveloped with a
snake's skin from Thebes. Over the cases an Ashantee loom for weaving
narrow cloth, and Abyssinian baskets, and at the side an Indian inlaid
cabinet. Passing from these cases, the visitor at once reaches those
devoted to


The cases numbered from 14-21 are filled with articles illustrative of
the life and climate of the Esquimaux, and the extreme northern
regions of America, including the native fishing-hooks and lines;
models of canoes; skin dresses, men's boots from Kotzebue's Sound;
Lapland trousers; utensils made of the horn of the musk ox; Esquimaux
woman's hair ornaments; over the cases hereabouts the sledge which Sir
E. Parry brought from Baffin's Bay, and a canoe from Behring's
Straits; waterproof fishing jackets, made from the intestines of the
whale; harpoons of bone tipped with meteoric iron; specimens of rude
sculpture from these northern regions; clubs; hatchets; the magic dome
of an Iceland witch; baskets and mats; calumets of peace; scalps; a
model of a cradle, showing the method adopted by the Indians of the
Columbia River to flatten their children's heads. The cases 23, 24,
are filled with curiosities from more southernly parts of the North
American continent; and chiefly with various objects from the most
interesting of the old inhabitants of America--the Mexicans. The
collection from Mexico, including their divinities, specimens of their
arts, &c., are arranged in seven cases (24-30). The objects from
Guiana occupy the greater part of cases 31-34; and the remarkable
objects in the 35th case are the dried body of a female, from New
Granada; a mummy from New Granada wrapped in cotton cloths; a curious
Peruvian mummy of a child, the legs curiously bound up; and silver and
gold Peruvian sepulchral ornaments. The cases marked 36, 37, are
devoted to objects from South America, including black earthern
vessels from cemeteries in Peru; bows and poisoned arrows; and a
sacrificial bason, ornamented with serpents, supposed to be one from
the temple of the Sun at Cuzco. The rest of the cases contain
miscellaneous objects from groups of islands. The contributions from
the Marquesas and Sandwich Islands are in cases 53-56; the war
dresses, of feathers, &c., from Tahiti, in case 57; and the nets and
baskets, clubs and tatooing instruments from the Friendly Islands will
be found arranged in cases 65, 66. On the second shelf of cases 66,
67, is deposited a tortoise-shell bonnet, made in imitation of an
European bonnet from Navigator's Island. Cases 68, 69, are devoted to
objects from New Zealand; and those marked 70, 71, were collected
during an exploring expedition into Central Australia. The last cases
are devoted to miscellaneous objects from the Fiji Islands, Borneo,
and other localities; and with these the visitor should close his
second visit to the Museum; regaining the ante-room to the Southern
Zoological gallery, by passing out of the Ethnographical room through
its eastern opening. He has now completed the examination of the
galleries of the Museum with the exception of the print and medal
rooms, which are not open to the public generally, but are reserved
for the use of artists and antiquarians. He has dipped into many
sciences on his two journeys; made some acquaintance with the history
of the animals that frequent the different parts of the world; dwelt
amid the fossil fragments of long ages past; examined the elementary
substances of which the earth's crust is composed; been with the dust
of men that lived before Jerusalem was made for ever memorable;
surveyed the spoils of Etruscan tombs; and lingered amid the varieties
of household things from the barbarous nations of the present hour;
and not wholly profitless have the journeys been, even if the
scientific mysticism be not mastered, so that there remains in the
mind a general impression of the time that has gone by, the great laws
that govern the universe, and the humility that becomes man, when he
sees his individuality, in relation with the mighty past, and the
great progresses of Nature.



The visitor, on entering the British Museum for the third time, will
commence his examination of the massive Antiquities, which are
scattered throughout the noble galleries that stretch along the
western basement of the building. His spirit must again wander to the
remote past. Again must he recur to the ancient civilisation of
southern Europe, and the busy people that covered the valley of the
Nile before Alexander breathed. He has already examined the household
utensils, the bodies, the ornaments, and the food of the ancient
Egyptians, and has had more than a glimpse of the artistic excellence
to which they attained long before our Christian era. Of the
sepulchral caves of Thebes, of the massive pyramids sacred to the
ancient Pharaohs, of the strange images of beasts and men, of the
sacred beetles, and the universal Ibis, he has already examined minute
specimens arranged in the cases of the Egyptian Room; but he has yet
to witness those evidences of power, and scorn of difficulties,
exhibited in the colossal works of the Egyptian people.

On entering the Museum for the third time, the visitor should turn to
the left, and passing under the staircase, enter the galleries devoted
to Ancient Sculpture. He will at once be struck with the strange
allegorical figures clustered on all sides, the broken bodies, the
fragments of arms and legs, the corners of slabs, and other
dilapidations. Here a fine figure is without a nose, there Theseus
holds aloft two handless arms, and legs without feet. The visitor who
has not the least insight into the heart of all these collections of
fragments from tombs, and temples, and neglected ruins, is perhaps
inclined to laugh at the enthusiasm with which they are generally
examined, and the rapturous strains in which the greatest critics have
written of them. Not to all people is the enthusiasm of Lord Elgin
comprehensible. Why not allow the fragments of the Parthenon to be
ground into fine white mortar, and the busts of ancient heroes to be
targets for the weapons of Turkish youths? are questions which a few
utilitarians may be inclined to ask; and it would certainly be
difficult to show, for instance in figures, the gain the country has
made by expending 35,000£. on the Elgin marbles: in the same way that
it is difficult to appraise the beneficial influence of beauty, or to
test the developments of the universe by double entry.

But let the visitor pace these noble galleries of his national museum
with a reverent heart, let him learn from these beautiful labours of
long ago, that not only to him and his fellows of the proud nineteenth
century, when fiery words are flashing through the seas, and steam
fights like a demon with time, were the living years pregnant with the
glories of art; but that the Egyptian, with his rude bronze chisel,
cut his native rocks with no unskilful hand, before the Son of God lay
cradled in a manger.

Past the bewildering fragments of art in the south-western gallery to
the south-western corner of the building, then south like an arrow to
the northern end of the sculpture rooms, should the visitor at once
proceed. He will pass by fragments of Assyrian, Greek, and Roman art,
but to these he should now pay little heed, as his immediate business
is with the fine gallery of


which is the most northernly apartment or gallery of the western wing.
Here he will at once notice the rows of Sarcophagi, which are ranged
on either side of the central passage of the gallery. These colossal
outer-coffins contained the mummies of distinguished Egyptians. Along
the walls of the room are ranged the sepulchral tablets, or tombstones
of ancient Egyptians, and the inscriptions generally record the name
and age of a deceased person; and in some cases, points of domestic
history and pious sentences. Their dates range over a space of time
amounting to more than twenty centuries. Interspersed with these are
other sculptures, chiefly of Egyptian deities; but the attention of
the visitor will be probably attracted first to the


The visitor, having reached the northern end of the Egyptian Saloon,
should turn to the south, and begin a minute examination of its
contents. The sarcophagi, or outer coffins of stone, in which the rich
ancient Egyptians deposited the embalmed bodies of their relations,
occupy the greater part of the ground space of the saloon. They are
massive shells, hewn from the solid rock, polished and engraved
skilfully with hieroglyphics, which, so far as the learned have been
able to decipher, record the exploits of the great men they contained.
Some of them are in the shape of common boxes with raised lids; while
in others, attempts to represent the features of the deceased, and a
rough outline of a mummy are apparent. These massive coffins, which
are upwards of three thousand years old, and are eloquent with the
mystic written language of that remote antiquity, deserve more than a
transient notice even from the unscientific visitor. Mummies were
found in most of these, proving their use. Some were discovered placed
in an erect, and others in a recumbent posture, in the tombs of
Thebes, or on the sites of ancient cities.

Of the sarcophagi or coffins, fashioned in the shape of a mummy, the
visitor should notice that in calcareous stone, numbered 47, which was
discovered at Tana; another, with the paintings restored, marked 39;
another in green basalt, marked 33, known to be that of a female
called Auch, decorated with the embalming deities, and inscribed with
a prayer on behalf of the deceased woman; and one of later date which
has held the remains of a member of the priestly class, numbered 17.
To arrive at a fair estimate of the average art displayed in these
ancient sepulchral remains, it is worth the trouble of the visitor to
wander a little about the saloon from one specimen to the next
immediately connected with, or proximately resembling it. Having
examined the coffins shaped like mummies, the visitor should next
direct his attention to the massive oblong cases which lie upon the
ground on either side of him.

The first of these which he may examine is that marked 32. This
sarcophagus was excavated from the back of the palace of Sesostris,
near Thebes. Athor appears in bas-relief upon the lid; the sun is
represented in the interior, together with Heaven represented as a
female, and a repetition of the goddess Athor.

The names of several royal ladies have been deciphered from the
inscriptions, which are the addresses of deities. The black granite
chest of a sarcophagus, numbered 23, is that of a royal scribe named
Hapimen. Here the well-known figures of the Amenti, the embalmer
Anubis, and other deities and symbols, will remind the visitor of the
Egyptian room up stairs, with its strange green little images of
figures half human and half bestial. Round the interior are the
deities to whom the various parts of the human body were severally
dedicated. Since this massive granite was the coffin of Hapimen, it
has been known to the Turks as the "Lover's Fountain," and used by
them as a cistern. The Syenite sarcophagus of a standard-bearer, is
marked 18. The chest of a royal sarcophagus that was taken from the
mosque of St. Athanasius at Alexandria, and which contained the mummy
of a king of the twenty-eighth dynasty, is marked number 10. On the
exterior, the Sun is represented, attended by appropriate deities
travelling through the hours of the day; and on the interior the
visitor will recognise the quaint symbolic forms of the usual
sepulchral gods and goddesses. The two remaining sarcophagi are those
of a scribe and priest of the acropolis of Memphis, and a bard. That
of the former, marked 3, is covered with the figures of Egyptian
divinities and inscriptions to the deceased; that of the latter, in
arragonite, is in the form of a mummy, like those first examined by
the visitor. This coffin has five distinct lines of hieroglyphics
engraved down the front, expressing a chapter of the funeral ritual:
and the face bears evidence of having been gilt.

Having sufficiently examined these massive coffins, upon which the
proudest undertaker of modern times must look humbly, and deplore the
decline of his business as an art, the visitor should at once turn to
other specimens of the sepulchral art of the ancient Egyptians. Of
these, the most interesting are the sepulchral tablets, which are


Our modern tombstones record only the virtues of the dead. If future
generations have to rely upon the revelations of our churchyards for
facts connected with the people of modern times, they will write that
we were all of us faultless as fathers, irreproachable as husbands,
and devoted and self-sacrificial as children. Every tombstone is
engraved with a catalogue of human virtues; and idlers wandering round
about our country churches, find themselves surrounded by the ashes of
fond husbands, innocent angels, and adored wives. These prattlings of
sorrow have their happy significance, since they show the universal
forgiveness that follows even the worst and basest of mankind to the
grave. But viewed as historical records, tombstones are sadly erring
guides. They tell histories of men, written by their mistresses or
their children. The sculpture which adorns the graves of modern races
in this country, generally represents urns, or weeping cherubims,
broken flowers, or fractured columns, or grieving angels. These
symbols of death and grief contrast often oddly with the hopeful
scriptural sentences which they surmount. In some instances the
occupation or calling of the deceased is typified on his tomb--the
unstrung lyre telling the whereabouts of a dead musician; and a
palette indicating the resting-place of a defunct painter. Little that
is great in sculpture has of late marked burial-places.

The Egyptians, on the contrary, employed their choicest workmen to
decorate their tombs. The visitor may, gathering together the
scattered fragments from this saloon, picture to himself one of the
massive solemn vaults of the old Egyptians--the walls decorated with
sepulchral tablets, and beneath each tablet a massive sarcophagus,
containing the mummy of the deceased whose actions the tablet records.
Not altogether unlike the vaults of the present day, save that
perishable materials suffice for modern notions; whereas the Egyptian
provided comforts for the long, long rest, that, according to his
creed, would elapse, before the mummy would shake off its bandages,
and walk forth bodily once more. The Egyptian tablets, of which there
are a great number scattered about the saloon, are, as the visitor
will perceive, of small dimensions, but crowded with mystic
hieroglyphics, and ornamental groups of the funereal deities and other
subjects. The writing records the actions and the name of the
deceased, together with various religious sentiments; and is
therefore, in form and spirit, not unlike the modern epitaph. This
resemblance is not so wonderful as it at first appears, seeing that
the same circumstances acted upon the dictator of the old Egyptian
epitaph, as those which make the modern widow eloquent. The most
modern of the tablets in the present collection are those executed
while Egypt was a Roman state, many are of the time of the Ptolemies,
and one is believed to be of a date before the time of Abraham. This
tablet is to the memory of a state officer: it is marked 212. The
examination of the sarcophagi, will have led the visitor to the
southern end of the saloon; and from this point he should once more
turn to the north, and examine the sepulchral tablets on the eastern
and western walls. He will notice that numbers of them exactly
resemble one another in certain forms; that certain sepulchral scenes
are frequently repeated, and that therefore the tablets cannot be said
in many cases with certainty, to represent either passages in the life
of the deceased, or symbolic images of his career.

First let the visitor remark, numbered 90, a basalt slab, presented to
the museum by the Lords of the Admiralty. It is supposed to have been
originally the cover of a stone coffin, in the time of the Ptolemies.
It is remarkable for a Graeco-Egyptian recumbent figure, executed in
bas-relief. The sepulchral tablets marked 128-9-31-32, are in
calcareous stone. The first is that of a scribe, who is receiving a
funeral offering from his son; the second is that of Akar-se, who is
receiving the offerings of his bereaved family; the third, from
Abydos, has similar representations of family offerings, and the
fourth is that of the chief keeper of the cattle of Rameses II., named
Hara, who prays to Horus, Isis, Nephthys, and Osiris. The first three
tablets are dedicated to Isis. The visitor may also remark in this
neighbourhood a fragment in bas-relief from the tomb near Gizeh, of
Afa. Afa was a palace officer, who is supposed to have flourished
about the period of the fourth dynasty. He is here represented, in
company with various members of his family.

The next tablet to which the visitor should direct his attention is
from Thebes, and is marked 139. It is that of a priest named Rames,
who flourished during the reign of King Menephtah. Here the priest is
represented in the act of adoring various deities, and accepting
funeral honours from his family. The tablet marked 142 is of the time
of the nineteenth dynasty. It bears an inscription referring to a
governor of the Ramesseium, named Amen-mes. The next tablet that
deserves particular remark is one in calcareous stone, from Abydos. It
is in honour of a military chief of the twelfth dynasty, named Nechta.
The pictorial embellishments represent the chief before a table of
offerings, with his wife, mother, and nurse, seated before him. On the
next tablet (144) a judge named Kaha, is adoring funeral deities, and
receiving the usual honours from his family. Passing the tablet of the
commander of the troops of the palace of Sethos I. (146) the visitor
should pause before the interesting tablet marked 147. This tablet
records the date of the birth and marriage of a female named
Tai-em-hept, of the advent of her son Tmouth, and of her death which
took place in the tenth year of the reign of Cleopatra. As the visitor
progresses with his inspection of these tablets, he will be more and
more struck with the minute revelations they afford of the subdivision
of labour among the ancient Egyptians. For instance, one tablet (148)
is that of a superintendent of the builders of the palaces of Thothmes
IV. in Abydos; another (149) is that of a scribe of the royal
quarries; a third (150) is that of a Theban judge, on the lower part
of which are representations in yellow, in the style of the nineteenth
dynasty, of the transport of the corpse, and other funeral ceremonies;
a fourth (154) is that of a royal usher; a fifth is that of Pai, a
queen's officer, among the illustrations of which a tame cynocephalus
may be noticed. The tablet marked 159 is a very ancient specimen. It
is that of Rutkar a priest, who is represented, in company with his
wife, surveying the domestic occupations of his dependents. The tablet
from Thebes, of Baknaa, a master of the horse in the reign of
Sesostris is marked 164. Here the deceased is represented adoring a
group of deities. The other tablets in this vicinity are chiefly of
the time of Rameses II. or III, and are in honour of scribes and other
functionaries immediately connected with the court. Two sepulchral
tablets from Sakkara are interesting. That marked 184 is in honour of
a priestess of Phtha named Tanefer-ho. The pictorial embellishments
represent the priestess about to be introduced to Osiris and other
deities by Anubis and other presiding spirits of the tomb. This
specimen bears the date of the nineteenth year of the reign of Ptolemy
Auletes. The second tablet from Sakkara (188) is that of an ancient
pluralist named I-em-hept, who is represented introduced to Osiris and
other deities by Anubis and his brother spirits or genii. The
inscription below, in the vulgar character of the ancient Egyptians,
is supposed to begin with the sixth year of Cleopatra. Near these
tablets is one in dark granite, of a date before the twelfth dynasty
(187) in honour of Mentu-hept, a superintendent of granaries and
wardrobes. The next tablet to which the visitor's attention should be
directed, is one crowded with symbolic animals and deities (191). It
is that of a functionary named Kaha, who is adoring Chiun, standing on
a lion, and grasping snakes, with Horus and other deities. Asi, a
military chief and priest of a very remote period, is represented on
the next tablet (192), with food before him, and the next (193) is
that found before the great sphinx at Gizeh. On it the sun is
represented, and a Greek inscription tells that it was erected in the
time of Nero, by the inhabitants of Busiris to the Roman governor of
Egypt, Tiberius Claudius Balbillus. The next tablet (194) is that
discovered by Belzoni, near the temple of Karnak, on which a line of
adoring deities are represented. The tablets marked 548, 9, 51 have no
particular points of interest; the visitor may therefore at once pass
to the group, most of which are coloured yellow, and are elaborately
embellished, marked from 555 to 598. The first of these worth especial
notice is that (555) of a Theban judge of the eighteenth dynasty. It
is coloured yellow and the deceased is represented with the boat and
the sun's disc above, and in company with his sister adoring the cow
of Athor; the second (566) is in the form of a doorway, is of the
nineteenth dynasty, is coloured, and is in honour of a conductor of
the festival of Amen-ra; the third and fourth (557-8) are of earlier
date, or the twelfth dynasty, and represent the deceased before tables
of viands; the fifth tablet (560) is in honour of Her-chen, who is
represented with his relations, and Phtah-kan, a scribe, also
represented and similarly attended, all well finished and coloured;
the three following tablets represent the deceased before tables of
viands, coloured; the next (564) is that of the keeper of the
treasury, or "silver abode," in the twelfth dynasty--he too is before
a table of food in company with his relations; the next remarkable
specimen is that marked 569, which is in honour of Athor-si, a
functionary supposed to have been the superintendent of mines in the
twelfth dynasty, who is here represented in one part before a table
loaded with food, and in another part seated, with his hands humbly
crossed upon his breast; the next tablets presenting particular points
for remark are those of Eun-necht, (575) a superintendent of corn and
clothing, of the twelfth dynasty. Senatef, chief of the palace to
Amen-emha II., who is represented receiving a goose, a haunch, and
other food from his relations. Eunentef, a chief and his son standing
face to face, bearing wands and sceptres--a sculptor named User-ur,
who is represented with his wives and parents, and upon which the
square red lines used by the precise Egyptian artists are still
visible on the unfinished parts. After several other tablets of the
twelfth dynasty, is placed (584) a small square one of an earlier date
in honour of Chen-bak, an architect, who is seated with his wife,
receiving the duty of his children. Near this is a good specimen of
old Egyptian bas-relief on calcareous stone, in honour of a palace
officer named Amen-ha (586); and next to it (587) is a tablet in
honour of a superintendent of all the gods, named Seraunut. Hereabouts
also is the tablet from Thebes in honour of Hera, a royal scribe
(588). On this tablet the deceased is represented bearing an
appropriate feather sceptre before Nameses the ninth of the twentieth
dynasty, who is seated on his throne, under the particular
guardianship of the God of truth.

The tablet from Thebes marked 593 is that of a judge and his wife, and
is dedicated to Osiris and Anup. Hereon, the lotus flower is
represented, with corn and bread. The next tablet (594) is one in the
shape of an altar of libations, and is dedicated to Amenophis I. and
the queen Aahmes-Nefer-Ari. It is ornamented with representations of
various foods, including vases of figs. In this neighbourhood are a
few more tablets, including one on which are jars, water-fowl, and
bread cakes, (596) and a fragment upon which the head of a king is
traceable, marked 595. The visitor should also notice now the two
early Saracenic tombstones presented by Dr. Bowring. Having examined
these, the more remarkable of the sepulchral tablets, or tombstones of
the ancient Egyptians, the visitor, still lingering amid the funereal
relics of long ages ago, should turn to the


As we explained when the visitor was in the Egyptian room, better
known as the Mummy room, up stairs, in the course of his second visit,
the ancient Egyptians, when they embalmed their dead, extracted the
viscera, and deposited them, apart from the body, in four vases, over
which the genii of the dead severally presided. Thus every mummy had,
properly, four sepulchral vases; and the collection arranged in the
saloon amply illustrates the varieties of ornament expended upon them.
As the visitor has probably forgotten the particular parts assigned
separately to the genii, it may be well to repeat here that Amset (who
is human-headed,) had the stomach and large intestines under his
especial protection Tuautmutf with his jackal-head presided over the
heart and lungs; Kebhsnuf, with the fierce head of the widely
worshipped hawk, took the gall, bladder, and liver, in charge; while
the baboon-headed Hapi reserved to himself the care of the small
intestines. There does not appear to have been any supernatural
protector of the brains, which, as we have noticed, were drawn through
the nose by the embalmer. These vases are of the most ancient times,
chiefly before the advent of Alexander, after which event the people
began to enclose the entrails of their dead in wax cloths, and
fastening to the various parts the appropriate genius, to have been
content to deposit them in the same case with the body. The vases
which the visitor is about to examine are carved in different
materials, the more costly and highly finished being of arragonite,
and the less important, in wood, stone, or clay. They are all
ornamented with appropriate inscriptions, consisting of exhortations
of the deities to the dead, or comforting syllables from the genii of
the intestines to the departed. The visitor will not care to examine
all these vases in detail, nor would any purpose be served were the
unscientific spectator to hover in this corner for a whole day; it is
sufficient for him to understand the passage these vases occupy in the
ancient history of Egypt, and to notice cursorily the degree of
excellence displayed in the manufacture of them. He will find the
hawk-head of Kebhsnuf in one direction, and the baboon-head of Hapi in
another, and from these pictorial revelations he will know what part
of a deceased Egyptian was deposited in each vase.

With these preliminary words we may leave him to examine the
collection, reserving to ourselves the task of pointing his attention
to one or two of the more remarkable specimens. First let the visitor
notice the complete set of four, in arragonite, marked 614-17. These
were for the internal parts of prince Amen-em-api, the eldest son of
Rameses II., and as the visitor will notice, have severally their
presiding genius, with sacred inscriptions. Another remarkable vase is
that in arragonite marked 609, with its cover fashioned in the form of
a human head, and the remains of an inscription which had been laid on
with a thick kind of colour. That marked 629 with the jackal-head of
Tuantmutf, bears an inscription in which the standard-bearer of Plato
named Hara, part of whose body was inclosed, is reminded that the
genius attends him. One (635) of arragonite has a green waxy paint,
and belonged to a royal bow-bearer of the nineteenth dynasty, named
Renfu. There is another complete set, which do not appear to have been
opened, marked 636-39. The arragonite vases are the most expensive,
and, as we have remarked the most highly finished; but the visitor may
notice also those in coarser material.

Having sufficiently examined these vases, the visitor may take a
general glance at the contents of the saloon, and prepare to examine
the Sphinxes, and colossal figures that are crowded into it. In these
he will recognise only colossal copies of many of the little figures
he saw in the Mummy room up stairs. He will see huge granite
representations of the strange gods and goddesses to which the
ancients devoutly knelt; and in many of these forms he will trace a
placid beauty that reveals often the soul of the sculptor fettered by
the strange formulas of his religion. The visitor having examined the
high reliefs on the tablets and sepulchral monuments of the ancient
Egyptians, has now to examine the specimens that remain of their
statuary. But first of


In viewing cursorily the statuary of the ancient Egyptians, the
investigator is first struck with the colossal proportions adopted by
their sculptors. In those days, when iron was unknown, and when bronze
was the manufactured metal, men contrived without the use of
gunpowder, to remove vast masses of granite from their quarries, and
to shape these masses into the form they chose. Had they a hero to
whom they would pay honour? Forthwith his figure was immortalised in
colossal granite. How these vast masses, when separated from the rock,
and chiselled into statues, were removed to their destination in the
court, or at the entrance of a temple, is a point not satisfactorily
determined. That thousands of lives were spent, year after year, in
the production of the vast monuments which now lie scattered in
confusion about the valley of the Nile is certain; and some men
contemplate this large expenditure of human muscle upon these rude
masses, with a gentle melancholy that is not altogether called for.
There was a spirit in the work that made it noble. And here it is well
that the visitor shall see the opinion of a man whose conclusions were
based upon profound erudition in his art, on the subject of ancient
Egyptian art, artistically viewed. In his lectures on sculpture,
Flaxman says, "Their (the Egyptian) statues are divided into seven
heads and a half, the whole weight of the figure is divided into two
equal parts at the _ospubis_, the rest of the proportions are natural
and not disagreeable. The principal forms of the body and limbs, as
the breasts, belly, shoulders, biceps of the arm, knees, shin-bones,
and feet, are expressed with a fleshy roundness, although without
anatomical knowledge of detail; and in the female figures these parts
often possess considerable elegance and beauty. The forms of the
female face have much the same outline and progression towards beauty
in the features as we see in some of the early Greek statues, and,
like them, without variety of character; for little difference can be
traced in the faces of Isis, in her representations of Diana, Venus,
or Terra, or indeed in Osiris, although sometimes understood to be
Jupiter himself, excepting that in some instances he has a very small
beard, in form resembling a peg. The hands and feet, like the rest of
the figure, have general forms only, without particular detail; the
fingers and toes are flat, of equal thickness, little separated, and
without distinction of the knuckles; yet, altogether, their simplicity
of idea, breadths of parts, and occasional beauty of form, strike the
skilful beholder, and have been highly praised by the best judges,
ancient and modern. In their basso-relievos and paintings, which
require variety of action and situation, are demonstrated their want
of anatomical, mechanical, and geometrical science, relating to the
arts of painting and sculpture. The king, or hero, is three times
larger than the other figures; whatever is the action, whether a
siege, a battle, or taking a town by storm, there is not the smallest
idea of perspective in the place, or magnitude of figures or
buildings. Figures intended to be in violent action are equally
destitute of joints, and other anatomical form, as they are of the
balance and spring of motion, the force of a blow, or the just variety
of line in the turning figure. In a word, their historical art was
informing the beholder in the best manner they could, according to the
rude characters they were able to make. From such a description it is
easy to understand how much their attempts at historical
representation were inferior to their single statues. What has been
hitherto said of Egyptian sculpture, describes the ancient native
sculpture of that people. After the Ptolemies, successors of Alexander
the Great, were kings of Egypt, their sculpture was enlivened by
Grecian animation, and refined by the standard of Grecian beauty in
proportions, attitude, character, and dress. Osiris, Isis, and Orus,
their three great divinities, put on the Macedonian costume; and new
divinities appeared amongst them in Grecian forms, whose
characteristics were compounded from materials of Egyptian, Eastern,
and Grecian theology and philosophy."

First, to give the visitor an idea of the magnitude of the colossi of
the ancient Egyptians, let him notice from the southern extremity of
the saloon the gigantic cast of the face of Sesostris, placed against
the southern wall of the central saloon. This face is a cast from a
colossal statue of that great king of the Egyptians, which was one of
four discovered by the energetic Belzoni, in front of the great temple
of Ibsamboul in Nubia. It is a sitting figure, fifty feet high. These
colossal figures of the great Egyptian monarch were plentiful
throughout Egypt. As the visitor stands before this fragment of a
stupendous piece of sculpture, he may recall to mind the points in the
career of Giovanni Battista Belzoni. First, the boy helping his father
to shave the beards of the Paduans; then the young adventurer flushed
with hope, jogging on his way to Rome; then the grave young man, with
his vast physical development shrouded in the monkish habit; then, in
1800, when Napoleon was busy in Italy, the monkish garments thrown
aside, he wanders about the continent, stared at everywhere for his
size and strength of limb; then as lecturer on hydraulic machinery,
and exhibitor of feats of strength at Astley's Theatre; then, under
the patronage of the Pasha, constructing a machine to water some
gardens on the banks of the Nile; then engaged by the English Consul
in Egypt, Mr. Salt, to prosecute some of the investigations into the
monuments of antiquity, upon which that gentleman was expending much
time and money; and here he is for the first time recognised in his
true position. Of his labours as explorer of the tombs and temples of
ancient Egypt few people are ignorant. How, dressed as a Turk, he
transported the colossal granite bust of Memnon to Alexandria, and saw
it safely on its way to England; how he penetrated into the Temple of
Ibsamboul; how he patiently explored the rocks of the valley of
Beban-el-Malouk, beyond Thebes to discover the entrances to tombs, and
took exact copies of the thousands of figures he discovered upon
sepulchral walls; how he penetrated into the bowels of the pyramid of
Cephrenes, and found in the inmost chamber only the bones of a sacred
bull; how he was honoured on his return to his native city; and how a
desolate grave on an African shore was the end of his chapter--are
matters of exciting adventure that are read by thousands of young
people in the present day.

The visitor will see a strong family likeness in the colossal heads
that are in the saloon. Proceeding northward from the southern end of
the saloon, the visitor may rapidly notice the colossal fragments of
the statues of kings and high officers, which are all distinctly
marked. First, let the visitor examine two colossal heads (4-6),
wearing the kingly head-covering, and said to resemble the features of
Amenophis III., which were excavated under the superintendence of Mr.
Salt, at Gournah; and then the visitor may turn to a fragment marked
9, which is a colossal fist, found among the ruins of Memphis by the
French, and which fell, together with other valuable relics, into the
possession of the English on the capitulation of Alexandria in 1801.
This fist may well excite the admiration and respect of the most
determined pugilist of the present day. Hereabouts also are a
remarkable monument (12) found in the ruins of Karnak under the
superintendence of Mr. Salt, placed upon a white stone pedestal in an
angle of the wall of the great temple, and showing on each of its
sides representations of Thothmes III. of the 18th dynasty, holding
the hands of deities, said by some to be the moat curious specimen of
Egyptian bas-relief in the Museum; a fractured colossus (14) in black
granite, from Thebes, supposed to be part of a statue of Amenophis
III.; the colossal head (15) discovered at Karnak by Belzoni in 1818,
supposed to represent the features of Thothmes III.; the head and
upper part of a statue of Sesostris, known as the Young Memnon. Before
this, the most celebrated of the Egyptian specimens in the saloon, the
visitor should pause to learn something of it, and notice its
peculiarities for himself. Its name, 'Memnon,' is that given by the
Greeks to many of the colossi which they saw scattered about the
country when they made their way into Egypt. Memnon was the name given
by the ancient Greek writers to an Egyptian hero who had a great
reputation for his conquests, and was said to have done his share of
work in the famous Trojan war. This name having been given
indiscriminately to various statues, conveys no proof of their
identity, since it represents only a mythical hero, whose fame reached
Greece many centuries before our hero. Generally, this young Memnon is
held to be a portrait of the great Sesostris, who was either the first
or second Rameses; but some authorities declare that the weight of
evidence goes in favour of Amenophis III., who was a pharaoh, or
monarch, flourishing more than fourteen centuries before Christ. It is
certain, however, that we have here a carefully-elaborated portrait of
an Egyptian hero who flourished many centuries before our era. The
features have all the prominent parts noticed by writers on Egyptian
sculpture as characteristic of the Egyptian style. Here are the
wonderfully high and prominent ears (which must have been invaluable
peculiarities to Egyptian wits), the thick Ethiopian lips, the coarse
nose, and the full eyes, all carefully and skilfully chiselled.
Certainly, when we recall the time, realise fully the antiquity and
the social state in which this great work was performed, we may see
the sculptor's dawning soul in the majestic repose of this head. The
lines are hard and stiff--have not the flow of the Parthenon
decorations; but here is nothing mean or poor,--all large, solid, and
carved with the force of a giant. The picturesque accounts of its
transmission from the Memnonium at Thebes to Alexandria are familiar
to the majority of readers, with the great Belzoni, with his
marvellous strength and energy, urging on the workmen. "I cannot help
observing," he tells us, "that it was no easy undertaking to put a
piece of granite of such bulk and weight on board a boat that, if it
received the weight on one side, would immediately upset; and, what is
more, this was to be done without the smallest help of any mechanical
contrivance, even a single tackle, and only with four poles and ropes,
as the water was about eighteen feet below the bank where the head was
to descend. The causeway I had made gradually sloped to the edge of
the water, close to the boat, and with the four poles I formed a
bridge from the bank into the centre of the boat, so that when the
weight bore on the bridge it pressed only on the centre of the boat.
The bridge rested partly on the causeway, partly on the side of the
boat, and partly on the centre of it. On the opposite side of the boat
I put some mats well filled with straw. I necessarily stationed a few
Arabs in the boat, and some at each side, with a lever of palm-wood,
as I had nothing else. At the middle of the bridge I put a sack filled
with sand, that, if the Colossus should run too fast into the boat, it
might be stopped. In the ground behind the Colossus I had a piece of a
palm-tree planted, round which a rope was twisted, and then fastened
to its ear, to let it descend gradually. I set a lever at work on each
side; at the same time that the men in the boat were pulling, others
were slackening the ropes, and others shifting the rollers as the
Colossus advanced.

"Thus it descended gradually from the mainland to the causeway, when
it sunk a good deal, as the causeway was made of fresh earth. This,
however, I did not regret, as it was better that it should be so, than
that it should run too fast towards the water; for I had to consider
that if this piece of antiquity should fall into the Nile, my return
to Europe would not be very welcome, particularly to the antiquaries;
though I have reason to believe that some among the great body of its
scientific men would rather have seen it sunk in the Nile than where
it is now deposited. However, it went smoothly on board. The Arabs,
who were unanimously of opinion that it would go to the bottom of the
river, or crush the boat, were all attention, as if anxious to know
the result, as well as to know how the operation was to be performed:
and when the owner of the boat, who considered it as consigned to
perdition, witnessed my success, and saw the huge piece of stone, as
he called it, safely on board, he came and squeezed me heartily by the

On the back of the statue are hieroglyphics describing the titles of
Rameses. Marked 21, is a colossal black granite statue of the third
Amenophis, also called Memnon, found also at Thebes in the year 1818.
The next remarkable object to which the visitor's attention may be
drawn is the sandstone statue of a monarch of the 19th dynasty, known
as Leti Menephta II. (26), found at Karnak by Mrs. Belzoni. Here the
characteristics of ancient Egyptian sculpture are strictly preserved,
the figure having the arms close to the body, the hands resting upon
the knees, and in the hands an altar, upon which is a ram's head.
Hereabouts, also, is the lower part of a kneeling statue of Sesostris,
supporting an altar, with the scarabaeus, or sacred beetle. Of the age
of the 18th dynasty (of which Amenophis III. was the most notable
monarch) is the restored group marked 29, which represents a guardian
of the temple of Amenra and his wife, seated upon a throne ornamented
with dedications to various deities. Having glanced at the limestone
bust (30), from Gournah, of a statue to a king, the visitor may turn
to a group (31) which represents an ecclesiastic, with his sister (who
is a priestess), and his little son, a priest to Amenophis II.--the
sister holding a bunch of lotus flowers. This group was found in a
tomb near Thebes. A headless statue, marked 35, with red colouring
matter upon it, extracted from a sepulchre in the neighbourhood of the
pyramids of Gizeh, is the next remarkable object deserving the general
visitor's notice; and hereabouts, also, is another group, in the old
Egyptian style (36), of an officer seated beside a female relation.
Passing some remarkable objects which remain for notice under a
separate head, and the lower part of a statue of Sesostris from Abydos
(42), the visitor should next pause before a figure marked 43. This
black granite statue is that of a queen of the 18th dynasty, and
mother of the great Amenophis III. She is represented, as the visitor
will perceive, seated upon a throne. A vulture, in an Athor-headed
boat, hovers over her; and upon the boat the learned may read her name
and dignities. Passing the upper part of a grey granite statue,
representing a king, probably of the 12th dynasty (44), which was
found in the neighbourhood of Gizeh, the visitor should halt before
the statue of an Egyptian scribe, marked 46. This sitting figure is
loaded with symbols. The pectoral plate suspended from his neck
describes the dignities of the great Sesostris; in his right hand is a
symbol of life, and in his left he holds a blade of corn. Near the
scribe the visitor will notice a heavily-draped figure of black
basalt, with the arms solemnly crossed, which was excavated from
behind the Memnon at Thebes. This statue represents a military chief
of the early part of the 18th dynasty, named Banofre. The figure
numbered 51 is that of a prince named Anebta, who lived in the 18th
dynasty: it is of calcareous stone, and was found at Thebes. The two
next statues are those of a royal scribe of the 19th dynasty, and an
officer connected with the libations to the god Amen-ra, both from
Thebes. Two fragments, marked respectively 54 and 55, are the feet of
a statue, and a colossal arm in red granite belonging to the colossal
head, conjectured to be that of Thothmes III., found in the sand in
the Karnak part of Thebes. Having examined these ponderous fragments,
the visitor should next notice the colossal red granite statue of
Sesostris found at Karnak (61), the kingly rank of the monarch being
marked by the hat and the royal apron; and the upper part of a statue
of the same monarch wearing the Pschent or crown of the Pharaohs, and
holding a crook and whip. The small statue of Bet-mes, a state officer
of the sixth dynasty, found in a tomb at Gizeh, is remarkable for its
extraordinary antiquity; and in this neighbourhood, also, is a statue
of an Ethiopian prince of the time of the great Rameses, named Pah-ur,
which was found by Belzoni in Nubia. The figure is kneeling, and
holding an altar. Passing the fragment, in grey granite, of a monarch
of the 18th dynasty (75), the visitor may pause before another object
taken from the French (81). It is the statue, from Karnak, of a high
priest of Amen-ra, seated, holding an ear of corn, and, like his
companions in stone, resting his arms upon his knees. Another
fragment, of green basalt, may be passed (83), which is from a
comparatively modern statue--that of a chamberlain in the reign of
Apries, of the 26th dynasty; and then the visitor should pause before
a white stone statue of the Ptolemaic period (92), which represents a
priest of the god Chons, or Hercules, holding an altar upon which is a
figure of the god; and hereabouts, also, he may remark another
specimen of white stone sculpture, being the colossal bust of a queen
of the 18th or 19th dynasty (93). Passing another fragment of a statue
of the great Rameses, the visitor should next direct his attention to
a dark granite statue, mutilated, of a high military officer, supposed
to have flourished about the 12th dynasty. Among other fragments
hereabouts, the visitor should not fail to examine the fragment (104)
found in Alexandria, at the base of Pompey's Pillar, upon which are
clearly traceable the figure of the great Rameses, being crowned by
divinities, and a list of his dignities; the red granite colossal fist
(106), presented to the Museum by Earl Spencer; and a curious
fragment, which represents parts of a royal scribe, with his writing
slab attached to his leg (103). Passing the curious double statue
(110), of a State officer of the time of the eleventh Rameses, the
visitor should once more halt before a basalt statue of a functionary
(111), of the 26th dynasty, found in 1785, in the Natron Lakes, near
Rosetta, and a granite group (113), representing, side by side, a
chief, and a royal nurse, with the chief's daughter. Amid another
group of fragments, the visitor should remark particularly an
arragonite torso (121); the upper part of an officer, holding a
standard (122); and a red granite bust of a monarch wearing the neumis
(125). A small black basalt statue, of the period of the 26th dynasty
(134) should be noticed. The figure, that of a palace officer, is
kneeling, and has dedications to the deities. Further on is a statue
of the third Thothmes, of the 18th dynasty (168), the head of which
has been restored. Here the visitor should remark the nine bows which
symbolise the enemies of the Egyptians. Having thus far noticed the
collection of statuary which represent human beings, the visitor will
gladly turn to those strange revelations of the ancient Egyptian mind
developed in the


In these strange conglomerations of various races of animals--the
lions with human heads and hawks' heads--there is generally preserved
that majestic repose, and that mighty force of execution, which rescue
the most incomprehensible of the ancient Egyptian monuments from
contempt. Not at all farcical or barbarous could the effect have been,
when the Egyptian approached his place of worship through an avenue
formed by rows of these colossal sphinxes--all grandly fashioned and
full of majesty. Mr. Long says: "Most speculations on the origin of
the compound figure, called a sphinx, appear unsatisfactory; nor,
indeed, is it an easy matter for the modern inhabitants of Western
Europe to conceive what is meant by the symbolical forms which enter
so largely into the ancient religious systems of the Eastern world. It
seems to us altogether an assumption without proof, that either the
andro-sphinx, or the sphinx with the female head, ought to be
considered as the original type of this compound figure. The sphinx
differs from other compound figures, which occur very often in the
Egyptian pictorial representations, in always having the body of a
lion, or, it may be, a panther, or some such animal as might be
considered a symbol of strength and courage. The whole history of our
species bears testimony to that tendency of the human mind, when not
restrained and guided by better knowledge, to pourtray in some visible
form its conceptions of Deity. However far many superior minds of the
heathen world might advance, in deducing from the contemplation of all
around them more correct views of the goodness and wisdom of an
all-ruling power, these were ideas far too refined for the mass, who
felt the want of something more apparent to the senses--something on
which the mind could repose from vain imaginings and real fears. Hence
the Deity was invested with various forms of familiar objects, under
which he was venerated as a protector and friend, or feared as an
avenging and angry power. Under the form of a ram, and the name of
Ammon, we find a deity worshipped along the banks of the Nile, from
the temple of the ancient Meroe to the sand-girt oasis of Siwah. The
mild and benignant expression of the sacred ram would indicate the
diffusion of tranquillity and peace, nor would the essential value of
the symbol be changed by finding the head of the ram placed on human
shoulders, or attached to the body of a lion. In the first case it
would, in accordance with the Egyptian tradition of gods having
assumed the forms of animals, commemorate, as in the Hindoo mythology,
an incarnation of the superior power; and in the second, the union of
strength and courage with mildness and the arts of peace. The
crio-sphinx, then, belongs to the Ammonian mythology, and is a
distinct symbol from the andro-sphinx and female sphinx, which,
probably, are connected with the worship of Osiris and Isis."
Something of the effect may be comprehended from the two large red
granite lions which mark the southern boundary of the saloon (1-34.)
They are of the time of the third Amenophis, and were discovered at
Mount Barkal by Lord Prudhoe, in 1829. As specimens of the mechanical
skill of ancient Egyptian sculptors, they are worth particular remark.
Here there is little of that angular stiffness characteristic of the
statues the visitor has already examined. And now, making one more
progress through the saloon, the visitor may rapidly notice the
varieties of strange animal forms--all of which, in ancient Egypt, had
their religious meaning. They were, at all events, symbols of divine
instincts, and for this reason a deep interest rises in the modern
mind in the contemplation of their proportions and expression. The
figure numbered 7 is a colossal head of a ram, emblematic of Amen-ra;
that numbered 8, is Hapi, the god of the Nile of the period of the
22nd dynasty, with allegorical waterfowl and plants hanging from the
altar he is holding; two strange figures of gryphons, or hawk-headed
sphinxes, found by Belzoni in the great temple of Ibsamboul (11-13),
and emblematic or Munt-ra, will next engage the visitor's attention;
and from these specimens the visitor should turn to a black granite
fragment of the Egyptian Diana--Pasht, of the time of Amenophis; but
as he will have an opportunity of observing more finished
representations of this popular divinity, he may at once pause before
a second statue of this goddess, also of the time of the third
Amenophis (37), where Pasht is represented in black granite, upon a
throne, with the head of a lion, and in her hand the emblem of life.
Hereabouts, also, are two specimens of the strange cynocephalus, or
dog-headed baboon (38-40), sacred to the Hercules and Mercury of the
Egyptian Pantheon. The figures marked 41-45 are two more specimens of
Pasht, who appears to have been the most popular subject for the
Egyptian sculptor's chisel; these are erect figures, holding lotus
sceptres, and are both from Karnak. The figures marked 49, 50, 52, 53,
57, are all representations of the popular Pasht; in 52 she wears the
disk of the sun. And now the visitor may well pause before a fragment
marked 58. This is a piece of the beard of the Great Sphinx. Peeping
above the sands which surround the famous pyramids of Gizeh, is the
upper part of a man-headed sphinx. This sphinx is said to measure no
less than 62 feet in height, and 143 feet in length; this Colossus has
been plucked by the beard, and the result lies before the visitor.
Hereabouts, in passing, the visitor may glance at another object
wrested from the hands of the French (59). It is a fragment of a
column in porphyry, supporting a colossal areonite hawk, sacred to the
sun. More statues of Pasht! (60, 62, 63, of the 22nd dynasty; 65, 68,
69). A column found in a house at Cairo, the capital of which is
formed in the shape of a lotus flower (64), deserves notice; also
(70), the basalt statue of a god, conjectured to be Amen-ra, holding a
small figure of a monarch of the 28th dynasty. More statues of Pasht
(71, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9; 80, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9); and then the visitor may pause
before the colossal scarabaeus, emblematic of the world and creation
(74); and a broken sphinx, of Roman work (82). Not far off are
deposited the legs of Truth (91), the goddess Ma of the Egyptians;
some altars from Aboukir and Sais, that marked 135, from the Temple of
Berenice, having steps leading to it; entrances to tombs (157),
ornamented with figures; and more statues of Pasht, amongst them a
colossal bust from a statue (521).

Having noticed these specimens, the visitor should pass into the lobby
at the northern end of the saloon, to notice the two small obelisks
placed here, brought from Cairo; they stood before a temple to Thoth.
The hieroglyphics upon them are carefully executed, but these
specimens give the spectator no idea of the colossal obelisks of
ancient Egypt, of which that of Alexandria, 63 feet high, is a fair
specimen. These obelisks were generally in pairs, and were placed on
each side of the great entrance to Egyptian temples. Having returned
to the saloon, the visitor should, before finally passing from it,
notice the famous tablet of Abydos (117), found by Mr. Banks, in 1818,
in the Temple of Abydos. It is the work of the great Sesostris, and
the inscription on it is a record of his predecessors in the kingly
office: hence it has been long an attractive object to chronologists.
Also, before glancing at the few paintings, and closing the
examination of this interesting saloon, the visitor should inspect the
Rosetta stone (24), inscribed in three characters (of which one is
Greek), by order of the high priests, recording the services of the
fifth Ptolemy. And now, with a glance at the


the visitor should rapidly close his survey of this chamber. These are
rude performances enough, and, as the visitor will see, bear a close
resemblance to those we introduced to him in the Egyptian rooms up
stairs. Mr. Long, while on the subject of Egyptian art, thus mentions
their paintings:--"Sculpture and painting were closely allied, both
among the Egyptians and in the old schools of Greece; and both arts
were intimately associated with architecture. Sculptured and coloured
figures formed in ancient Egyptian edifices the decoration and the
finish of the larger masses of the architecture which served as a
framework within which they were placed. The edifices, from their
massy forms and the magnitude of their component parts, were well
calculated to produce a general impression of grandeur; and this was
not destroyed by the smaller decorated parts, which were always
strictly subordinate to the general design, and were not, like it,
comprehended at a glance, but required to be studied in detail.

"Painting, in the proper sense of the term, that of the
representations of objects by colours on the flat surface, appears to
be an art of less antiquity than that of sculpture. The Egyptians
probably first coloured their reliefs and statues before they
attempted to represent objects with colours on a flat ground. But,
however this may be, paint was most extensively used by them, not only
in making pictures, properly so called, but in painting the surfaces
of tablets and temples, as well as colossal statues and sculptured
figures of all kinds and sizes. Indeed, an Egyptian temple, in its
complete state, bedizened with so many bright unmixed colours, must
have been rather a curious object, and would hardly, perhaps, have
pleased the taste of modern times; though, it must be admitted, that
the effect of these colours under a brilliant sun would be very
different from their appearance in such a climate as this. The
pureness, permanence, and brilliancy of Egyptian colouring are the
only qualities that we can admire; for they never, apparently,
compounded colours so as to produce a greater variety from the simple
colours. It has also been frequently remarked that they did not soften
them off so as to form various degrees of intensity, or to make any
attempt at contrasts of light and shade. This is probably true as to
the representation of human figures, which are coloured pretty much in
the same style that a child paints uncoloured engravings, making one
part all red, another all blue, and so on, without any softening of
the colours at their common boundary. But in the representation of
animals, as we shall afterwards observe, more care was taken in
softening and blenching the colours, so as to produce a better
representation of nature.

"The colours used in the painted relief, and on the stuccoes are
black, blue, red, green, and yellow; these are always kept distinct
and never blended. Of blue, they used both a darker and a lighter
shade. Red was used to represent the human flesh, apparently from its
being nearer the natural tint than any other simple colour; but many
of their colours were evidently applied with a conventional meaning,
for the representation of different races. The conquered people
represented in the great temple of Abonsambel, or Ipsambul, have
yellow bodies and black beards. In the grottoes of El Cab, the men are
red, and the women yellow. Black men also sometimes appear in the
paintings. The five colours above enumerated seldom occur all in one
piece or picture; but in this matter there is perhaps no general rule.
The Nubian temples have often a very rich colouring, as in the case of
one at Kalapsché, where yellow, green, red, and blue, have all been
used in painting the reliefs in one of the inner chambers; and in some
single figures in this temple we may observe all these four colours.

"The materials of which the colours were made would no doubt change
with the improvements in the arts; and after the Macedonian occupation
of the country, new colours, both vegetable and mineral, may have been
introduced. But the tombs of the kings at Thebes may undoubtedly be
considered as containing specimens of ancient Egyptian colouring, as
well as the painted reliefs in the oldest temples, and the colourings
about the ancient mummies. By a careful examination of these
specimens, we may attain a very adequate knowledge of the materials
used, and of the mode of applying them." The first of these frescoes
(169-170-1) are from the walls of a tomb of the western Hills of
Thebes. The tomb is that of a scribe of the royal granaries and
wardrobe, and the pictures represent the inspection of oxen by
scribes, a scribe standing in a boat, the registration of the
delivering of ducks and geese and their eggs. The fragment marked 175
represents an entertainment, with female instrumental performers; here
(176) an old man is leaning upon a staff near a cornfield; there (177)
is the square fish-pond woefully deficient in prospective; there is a
second entertainment (179), where the wine is freely circulating;
dancing is going on to music--the picture of a social evening enjoyed
thousands of years ago; and here, at a third entertainment (181),
servants are bringing in wine and necklaces--a kind of hospitality to
which, as regards the latter object, modern ladies would in no way
object. The ancient Egyptian ladies had their bouquets, their
ornaments, and their couches, and exacted a plainness of costume from
their servants, as in the present time. On passing south from the
Egyptian Saloon, between the two great lions, the visitor at once
gains the central saloon, but without pausing here, or turning to the
right into the tempting Phigalian and Elgin Saloons, he should proceed
rapidly on his way to the south-western extremity of the building, at
which point he will find himself at the entrance to the


In a few preliminary words we may indicate the points of Lycian
history. Situated in Asia Minor, Lycia is said to have taken its name
from the Athenian prince Lycus, who conquered it, and laid it open to
his countrymen. This Greek period of its history was interrupted by
Cyrus, who added it to the Persian empire about five centuries and a
half before our era; it was only regained about two centuries after by
Alexander the Great. It subsequently became a Roman province, then
yielded to the Byzantine empire, and now owns the rule of the Turk.
This eventful history gives an interest to the country that has
excited the curiosity of the learned for ages. The period of its
greatest prosperity ensued upon its being reconquered by Alexander,
when it included no less than seventy cities, of which Xanthus was the
capital. Of all these cities, only scattered ruins under Turkish
villages now remain. Of Lycian remains it may be said nothing was
known before Sir Charles Fellows started on his exploring expedition
in 1838. One or two travellers had made some scattered observations
with regard to the sites of ancient Lycian towns before that time, and
their hints first drew the attention of the learned in this direction;
but, we repeat, it cannot be said that anything was known of Lycian
remains before Sir Charles pressed the soil of Asia Minor, and looked
about for the sites of some of the seventy towns mentioned in ancient
history. He succeeding in fixing the sites of many of the cities,
including Xanthus, and on his return to England prevailed upon the
government to send out vessels to bring home the remains he saw
scattered about the rocky site of the ancient Lycian metropolis.
Messrs. Spratt and Forbes subsequently added eighteen sites of towns
to the list made by Sir Charles. The collection of sculpture now
popularly known as the Xanthian marbles, are a few ruins gleaned from
the rocky eminence which is the site of ancient Xanthus. These
fragmentary remains of an ancient people consist chiefly of sculptures
from their temples and their tombs; upon which, like the Egyptians,
they appear to have expended a vast amount of labour, and to have
employed their greatest artists. The Greek mind is clearly traceable
in these Xanthian marbles,--the Greek imbued with local traditions and
feelings. The first object that will attract the visitor's attention
on entering the room, is the most remarkable of


called the Harpy Tomb. This tomb, which occupied the highest point of
the hill on which Xanthus stood, is described by Sir Charles Fellows
in his account of the Xanthian marbles, published in 1843. The tomb
was a square shaft, in one solid block, weighing no less than eighty
tons. "Its height," says Sir Charles, "was seventeen feet, placed upon
a base, rising on one side six feet from the ground, on the other but
little above the present level of the earth. Around the sides of the
top of the shaft were ranged bas-reliefs in white marble, about three
feet three inches high; upon these rested a capstone, apparently a
series of stones, one projecting over the other; but these are cut in
one block, probably fifteen or twenty tons in weight. Within the top
of the shaft was hollowed out a chamber, which, with the bas-relief
sides, was seven feet six inches high, and seven feet square. This
singular chamber had probably been, in the early ages of Christianity,
the cell of an anchorite, perhaps a disciple of Simeon Stylites, whose
name was derived from his habitation, which, I believe, we have
generally translated as meaning a column, but which was more probably
a _stele_ like this. The traces of the religious paintings and
monograms of this holy man still remain upon the backs of the marble
of the bas-reliefs." By reference to the model of the tomb, of which
the bas-reliefs are in the room (1), the visitor may verify the
remarks of Sir Charles, who goes on to say that the monument was never
finished, having been only half polished, and that it bears the traces
of a shake from an earthquake. The general conjecture is that the tomb
is the labour of a Lycian Greek sculptor. The subjects of the
bas-reliefs have been variously interpreted: they decorated, as the
visitor will perceive by reference to the model, the four sides of a
square shaft. First, let the visitor turn to the western face, marked
(B). Here the scene represented is supposed to be Juno holding a cup
before the sacred cow Io, and Epaphus, Aphrodite, and the three
Charites, which have been interpreted also as the three Seasons, and
the Erinnyes or Furies. The eastern side marked (A), is supposed to
represent Tantalus, bringing the golden dog stolen from Crete to
Pandarus in Lycia: Neptune seated, with a man leaning on a crutch, and
a boy offering a bird before him, and Amymone and Amphitrite behind
him; and AEsculapius seated with Telesphorus in front, and two of the
Graces behind him. The northern side (C), shows at the corners, two
Harpies making off with two of the daughters of Pandarus, while their
sister Aedon, on her knees, is deploring their abduction. Here, too,
is a god seated, conjectured to be Pluto, holding a helmet with the
help of another figure, and having a wild animal under his chair. The
south side (D), discloses two Harpies bearing off the daughters of
Pandarus; and in the centre is a god, to whom a female figure is
offering a dove. By the side of these bas-reliefs, the visitor cannot
fail to remark the tomb of a Satrap of Lycia from Xanthus. From the
fact of horses being clearly traceable among the figures sculptured
upon this interesting relic, Sir Charles Fellows christened it the
Horse Tomb, and by this appellation it is popularly known. Its strange
shape, with its highly decorated roof and plain base, makes it an
object of curiosity to most visitors. It appears to be of the time of
the Persian dominion in Lycia, and was, as two inscriptions record,
erected by the satrap Paiafa. Upon the roof are groups of fighting
warriors, and at each side are figures in chariots and four. Sphinxes
occur in the lower sculptures, and on the north side below, is a mixed
combat of foot and horse soldiers; and the Satrap Paiafa himself,
attended by four figures, is here represented. The roof is drained by
water-spouts in the shape of lion's heads. The visitor, having now
examined the two most remarkable remains of Lycian tombs in the room,
should rapidly notice the fragments of sepulchres placed here and
there, but legibly numbered. First, let him remark (17-21), a frieze
conjectured to be from a tomb found inserted in the wall of the
Acropolis of Xanthus. Here he will find in bas-relief a procession
consisting of a horse and horseman, priest and priestesses with wands,
an armed female figure, and two chariots, with youthful charioteers
and old men. A triangular fragment of a tomb will next occupy his
attention (23); this has distinct vestiges of colour, and represents a
male and female figure separated by an Ionic column, surmounted by an
harpy, and other fragments in the immediate neighbourhood; (24-27)
have representations of the Sphinx, with a woman's head, wings, and
the body of a lion, as the daughter of the Chimaera, from the Xanthian
Acropolis. A curious relic is the _Soros_, discovered placed on the
top of one of the Xanthian pillar tombs. Here, amongst the
bas-reliefs, the visitor will notice a man stabbing an erect lion; a
lion playing with its young; and a figure on horseback followed by a
pedestrian; and on the next fragment (32), a lioness is again
represented fondling her progeny. The roof of a tomb (143), closely
resembling that which covers the Horse Tomb, is worth observing. It is
part of the tomb of an individual named Merewe, from Xanthus, and the
scenes represented include that of an entertainment, divinities, and
sphinxes, warlike encounters, and on the sides Bellerophon attacking
the Chimaera. Those casts marked (145-149), may next engage the
visitor's attention. They were taken from a tomb carved in solid rock
at Pinara, and include the frieze, upon which warriors are carved
leading captives, the walls representing a walled city, and the
Gorgons' heads which decorated the extremities of the dentals. The
three next casts that demand particular remark (150-152), were taken
from the decorations of a rock tomb at Cadyanda. To the learned these
groups are particularly interesting, because the figures are
accompanied with inscriptions in the Greek, as well as the pure Lycian
language. The first cast is that from the panel of the tomb door, upon
which Talas is represented standing: the second represents a group of
females; and the third an ancient entertainment with figures reclining
on couches with children; a figure playing the double flute, and to
the right a nude figure called Hecatomnas. Six casts from tombs
hereabouts (153-6), exhibit inscriptions, two of which are in two
languages--the Lycian and the Greek, declaring that the owners have
built the tombs for themselves and their relations; the second marked
156, in the Lycian language, expresses a threat that a fine will be
imposed on any person who may violate the tomb. Bellerophon, riding on
Pegasus, may be remarked launching his dart at the Chimaera, upon the
cast (158); nymphs are dancing upon the gable end marked (160); and
upon that marked (161), which is a cast from the gable end of a tomb
discovered at Xanthus, near the Chimaera tomb, two lions are
represented devouring a bull. The casts of the sculptures which
decorate an ancient rock tomb at Myra, are interesting. Here a young
man, attended by a boy, is offering a flower to a veiled woman,
attended by two women; in another part a boy attends with wine upon a
figure, conjectured to be that of Pluto, and a veiled female form,
supposed to be either Proserpine or Venus, is draped by an attendant,
in the vicinity of a nude youth. The remains of sarcophagi are marked
(168-171). The first of these are the relics of a Roman sarcophagus,
discovered in a mausoleum, containing three other sarcophagi, at
Xanthus. On the top have been reclining figures of a male and female,
and at the sides combats of warriors. The next relic is a fragment of
a sarcophagus, amongst the ornaments of which boys are shown at play;
and the third fragment discovers the lower part of the representation
of a hunt. An exceedingly explicit inscription is that marked (176,)
and found at Uslann, near the mouth of the Xanthus, which informs
modern generations that some two thousand years ago, Aurelius Jason,
son of Alaimis, and Chrysion, daughter of Eleutherus, purchased a tomb
for themselves, in the thirteenth month Artemisios, during the
priesthood of Callistratus, and dwelling upon this piece of
information, which is striking as a voice from the tomb of unknown
people speaking to us of the present century, not from any remarkable
deed achieved by Aurelius Jason, but simply because his name occurs
upon his tomb, plainly written in his own language. A strange
immortality! Having examined these relics of the ancient tombs of
Lycia, the visitor should take a general glance at


The time during which the Lycians may be said to have enjoyed their
highest civilisation dates from about five centuries before our era,
up to the period of the Byzantine empire. During this long interval,
most of the monuments of which this room contains some remarkable
specimens were conceived and executed. Of the sculpture, not
immediately illustrative of tombs, in the Lycian room, the most
interesting, undoubtedly, is that gleaned from the site of an ancient
building on the Acropolis of ancient Xanthus, by Sir Charles Fellows.
Passing a few fragments, including that marked (33), from Xanthus,
which represents the foreparts of two lions issuing from a square
block, the visitor should pass at once to the model of a Xanthian
Ionic peristyle building, surrounded by fourteen columns and
ornamented with statues, made under the direction of Sir Charles
Fellows, from the remains found on the site of the original building,
which lie about the room, and which the visitor is about to examine.
The original building was thirty-five feet in height, measuring from
the pediment to the base. Its object has been variously stated, but
cannot be said to be clearly and satisfactorily known. Of the
conjectures which have obtained certain credit, we may mention that
which described it as a trophy raised, in 476 B.C., to celebrate the
subjugation of Lycia by the Persians; and that which describes the
subject of the decorative sculptures as that of the suppression of the
revolt of the Cilicians by the Persian Satrap of Lycia. The remains of
this mysterious building are ranged in groups about the room; and the
visitor will observe indications of the flow of the lines, and the
artistic grace, which subsequently marked Grecian sculpture from every
other on the face of the earth. Here it is not impossible to recognise
the Greek mind: far below that of the decoration of the Parthenon, it
is true; but yet elegant and thoughtful. The groups of sculpture
marked (34-49) are the sculptures of the broader frieze which, it is
conjectured, surrounded the base of the building. Here are represented
a series of warlike encounters in which the Greek arms are
prominent--their helmets, crests, and Argolic bucklers; while other
soldiers are represented nearly nude, and in some instances wearing
the Asiatic pointed cap. This frieze undoubtedly represents the Greeks
at war with Asiatic tribes. The fragments of the narrow frieze which
bordered the upper part of the frieze are marked from 50 to 68. The
first four fragments represent the attack of a town, supposed to be
the Lycian town Xanthus. Here the besiegers may be observed scaling
the wall, and the officers cheering on the men. The five following
fragments represent various scenes of warfare between Greeks and
Asiatics. Then a walled city is represented, with the heads of a
besieged party looking over the ramparts; then a figure of a Satrap
occurs (62), supposed to be that of the Persian conqueror of Lycia,
Harpagus, who is screened with an umbrella held by a slave, which is
the emblem of his sovereignty, and is in the act of receiving a
deputation from the besieged city. The next two fragments represent a
sally from the besieged town; and upon the 67th fragment is some
carving supposed to illustrate the retreat of the besieged to their
city. The groups marked (69,70,74) are fragments of the capping-stones
of the east front of the base, and columns and fragments of columns
from the peristyle. Those groups, however, marked (75-84), which
consist of the statues originally placed in the intercolumniations of
the building, are figures of divinities, with various symbols at their
feet, as the dolphin, the halcyon, &c., and are meant to represent, by
the flow of the drapery, that they are flying through the air. They
have been variously interpreted, but never satisfactorily; some
authorities asserting that they were meant to celebrate the arrival of
Latona at Xanthus, and others that they symbolise the great naval
victory over Evagoras. Passing over one or two unimportant groups of
fragments, the visitor should next examine the remains of the narrow
frieze (95-109), upon which an entertainment is represented--the
guests, perfectly used to luxuries, reclining upon couches, and taking
wine to the strains of female musicians; also, a sacrifice of various
animals. Passing the coffers of the ceiling (106-109), the visitor
should next examine the remains of another narrow frieze, where a
Satrap is represented receiving presents; and bear and boar hunting
scenes occur. The fragment marked (125) is the eastern pediment,
sculptured in relief with various figures; and that marked (126) is
half of the western pediment sculptured with figures of six
foot-soldiers. The groups numbered (132-135) are fine specimens of
Lycian sculpture: on the first a draped female figure is shown in
rapid flight; and on the second, youths are shown bearing off women.
The group marked (138) is one of the samples of the roof-tiles with
which the building was covered in. Two crouching lions (139, 140),
supposed to have occupied intercolumnar space in the building, are the
last of the fragments. These fragments, however, together with Sir
Charles's interesting model, and the landscape (also in the room),
realise more vividly to the mind of the general spectator the ancient
Xanthus, than all the other detached and solitary fragments. Near the
two lions just mentioned are the paws of another lion, and a fragment,
found near the Harpy Tomb, of a crouching warrior and bull. Having
noticed these, the visitor may occupy himself for a few minutes with
the fragments of Byzantine architecture (177-183). These remains were
discovered amidst the ruins of a Christian village; and, it is
conjectured, were buried by an earthquake. These objects being
discussed, the visitor should repair to the glass case at the end of
the room, and examine some small curiosities from the Xanthian
Acropolis, which are placed therein. These consist chiefly of a
Parian-marble torso of a Venus; the left elbow of a female, and the
left side of a female head, in Parian marble, found built into the
walls of the Acropolis; leaden and iron cramps found in the oldest
sculptures of the Acropolis; four small lamps; vases; a cup; fragments
of glass vessels; fragment of a vase of the Byzantine period, stamped
with a cross; bronze vessels; lead grating for a drain pipe; a
fragment of a terra cotta amphora, inscribed, in the Doric dialect,
with the name of Hippocrates; fragments of painted cement from early
Christian buildings--all found in the excavations made for the ruins
of the building of which the model and fragments have lately been
noticed. Some sickles, a leaden weight, fragments of glass windows,
and terra cotta fragments, also included in the glass-case, were
discovered among the ruins of the houses, buried by the fall of the
great building. And in this case, also, are some curiosities from
Pinara, including fragments of human bones, tiles, and cement, all
amalgamated by a deposit of lime filtering through the rock of a tomb;
cement used to line a water cistern, and to block up the door of a
rock-tomb. With an examination of these relics, the visitor will close
his inspection of the Lycian remains, and proceed at once to the


Having examined the monumental remains of the Egyptians and the
ancient inhabitants of Persia, the visitor, in order to complete a
general impression of the sculptures of remote antiquity, should now
direct his attention to the remains recently discovered on the site of
ancient Nineveh and Nimroud. Most readers have read something of the
history of Assyria, of the effeminate Sardanapalus, of Semiramis, and
of the more fabulous Ninus. These three names are the three landmarks
of Assyrian history; and the long lapses of time which separate them
are shrouded in mystery, and up to late years have been filled up only
by fanciful histories but slenderly based on fact. Men have written
confidently on the fall of the Assyrian empire, and of its invasion by
the Medes; but the discrepancies of rival authorities, who differ as
much as ten centuries in their dates according to Mr. Layard, show how
insufficient were the materials upon which they pretended to found
histories. Where was the site of Babylon? where that of the renowned
Nineveh? These questions were often mooted by antiquaries. Mounds of
earth were long observed by travellers in Assyria and Babylonia; and
one of these, which was formed by a mass of ruined brickwork, was
heralded to the world as the remains of the tower of Babel! But the
ruins of the great Assyrian capital were for a long time unobserved.
For many years had travellers to modern Mosul looked with wondering
eyes at gigantic mounds of earth that lay opposite the city. The first
traveller who did more than take a cursory view of these mysterious
hillocks was Mr. Rich, who, on his way from Kurdistan to Baghdad in
1820, crossed the river, and arrived at the mounds; visited what the
inhabitants asserted to be Jonah's tomb on the summit of one of them;
saw inscribed relics in the houses of the adjacent village. Among the
fragments on the largest mound he picked up some bricks with
cuneiform[8] characters upon them, and fragments of pottery; and on a
subsequent occasion he found a small stone chair. He left these mounds
without suspecting that he had been treading above the palaces of the
ancient Assyrian monarchs--that he had been over ancient Nineveh. But
the ground was too fruitful in remote traditions to remain altogether
unexplored in this century. The lands watered by the Tigris and the
Euphrates, where the early Asiatic colonies of Scripture were founded,
and where Nimrod, the grandson of Ham, flourished and founded Babel,
and whence, according to Scripture, Asshur went forth to build
Nineveh, are interesting ground. Of these great Assyrian towns it was
natural to seek some ruins. Of all these cities, however, founded so
far back before authentic history begins, only Nineveh, which
flourished many centuries later, and of which we have always had more
authentic histories than those of any other Assyrian city, attained to
a comparatively modern prosperity and renown. The records of this
magnificent city, from which historians have derived their
information, describe its walls as reaching no less than two hundred
feet in height, and broad enough to be a chariot-way. These walls were
sixty miles in circumference, and guarded by fifteen hundred towers;
and in the eighth century before the Christian era the city is
estimated to have included a population of more than half a million
souls. But many centuries before this, Nineveh was a wonderful city,
of which the great monarch Ninus was king, and of which his celebrated
wife, Semiramis, was afterwards queen. Ninus is the reputed founder of
the Assyrian empire, and to him the magnificence of the capital is
chiefly attributed. He is the Sesostris of Assyrian history, and is
supposed to have flourished about twelve centuries before our era. The
names of many Assyrian monarchs occur in the Sacred Writings:
Sennacherib, who, seven centuries before our era, besieged Jerusalem
and invaded Judea; and Shalmanasaar, who carried away the ten tribes
of Israel. Later, the sovereignty of the Assyrian nation was
transferred to Babylon by Nebuchadonosor; and afterwards the Medes and
Babylonians laid the magnificent Nineveh in ruins, over which, many
centuries afterwards, Herodotus wandered wonderingly, and endeavoured
to glean from the pitiful wreck an idea of the bygone glory. The
centre of the ancient Assyrian empire was the present Turkish province
of Mosul; and hereabouts the researches of travellers have therefore
been concentrated. Opposite Mosul, the capital of the province, are
the two mounds which Mr. Rich hastily explored in 1820. These mounds
have long formed the subject of animated controversies; but it was not
before the year 1842 that any serious attempt was made to penetrate
beneath the grass that covered them. In this year M. Botta, the French
consul at Mosul, made some insignificant opening, but without
discovering any remarkable remains; and rumours having reached him
from Khorsabad, a few miles off, of some remains there, he caused some
vigorous excavations to be made there, and, aided by his government,
contrived to lodge an excellent collection of Assyrian sculptures in
the Louvre. About this time Mr. Layard was travelling through the
Turkish Asiatic provinces; and in the course of his wanderings paid
considerable attention to the mounds situated at Nimroud and near
Mosul. Convinced that under these hillocks lay precious relics of
antiquity, he procured an official letter to the Pasha of Mosul, and
in 1845 repaired to Nimroud, and hired Arabs to make excavations in
the mounds there. Even the first day's search disclosed valuable slabs
ornamented with bas-reliefs and inscriptions in the cuneiform
character, of the remotest antiquity, dating so far back as nineteen
centuries before our era, and conjectured to be part of the ruins of
the chief palace of Nimroud, destroyed about twelve centuries before
our era. If so, this point was the original centre of the great city
of Nineveh--that part said to have been built by Asshur; while the
surrounding mounds of Mosul, Khorsabad, and Kouyunjik, cover ruins of
a later date. Of Mr. Layard's discoveries in Assyria, that room, which
the visitor should now enter (called the NIMROUD ROOM), is full. The
room, as the visitor will at once perceive, is divided into eleven
compartments--the first being that to the left on entering. Here he
will begin his inspection of


The first slabs to which the visitor will direct his attention in the
compartment (1), are from the north-west edifice, excavated from the
Nimroud Mound, which Mr. Layard conjectures to be the most ancient of
all the Assyrian ruins, dating, as we have stated, so far back as
nineteen centuries before our era. On one slab the visitor will notice
two standing draped figures, divided by the sacred tree, or tree of
life, generally worshipped in the East, and adhered to in the
religious systems of the Persians, here more like trellice-work than a
tree, holding chaplets in their hands; on two other slabs figures with
the sacred tree; and on a fourth we recognise the symbol of royalty
among the ancient nations of Asia Minor, the umbrella borne by an
eunuch over a monarch, who is represented returning from the chase, to
the airs played by two musicians. Five figures are respectfully
meeting him, and a dead animal lies at his feet. These specimens of
the state of art in Asia, twenty-seven centuries ago, may well excite
the curiosity of all classes of spectators. Proceeding to the second
compartment, the visitor will find eight more slabs, the first of
which from the north-west edifice, represents a battle-piece. Here
warriors are discharging their arrows, the king with the winged symbol
of divinity in a circle above him is proceeding at full gallop, and a
dead figure lies near him pierced with arrows. This scene is continued
on the second slab, where there are two chariots, each containing two
figures, and one decorated with the ferouher, or divine symbol. A
siege is represented upon the third slab. Here the besiegers are
applying the battering ram; figures are falling from the walls, while
from the three tiers of battlements the besieged are vigorously
discharging arrows. The visitor will notice the figures of two bow-men
on the fourth slab, before a lake, with part of a tower in the
distance, and the next three slabs have representations of the fall of
the city, picturesquely indicated. The deserted battering rams stand
near the walls; female prisoners are leaving the town, drawn by three
oxen; eunuchs are driving away the cattle of the vanquished, and
conducting prisoners with their hands bound.

The third compartment is occupied with slabs, the sculptured subjects
of which closely resemble those just described, except that marked 7,
where the king, in his chariot, is hunting the lion. He has had some
success, as one royal beast lies dead under his horse's feet, and
another is pierced by four arrows.

The fourth compartment contains some interesting slabs. The first two
represent one continuous subject. First, the visitor will notice the
figure of an Assyrian monarch, with his chariots and attendants behind
him, holding up arrows in token of peace to an advancing group, the
first figure of which is addressing the king, while on one side a
eunuch is introducing four captives. The two following slabs present
illustrations of the crossing of a river. A boat, in which the royal
chariot containing the king is deposited, is being dragged by two men
ahead, while others are rowing, and behind follow horses and smaller
boats. In their delineations of battles, the Assyrians were sagacious,
since they vividly pourtrayed the horrors of war, by carving dead
figures in the back ground, with birds preying upon them, even before
the fray is over. Of this kind of vivid representation the visitor has
a specimen on the next slab; where, while warriors are discharging
their arrows, a dead soldier is being devoured by a bird in the
back-ground, while another, as a pleasant suggestion of the impending
fate of the survivors, hovers above their heads. The passage of troops
over mountainous country, or through jungle, is the subject
illustrated in the two following slabs (6,7); these are from
Khorsabad, and include an inscription with the name of the monarch of
that locality. Two slingers appear on the eighth slab, with archers
attacking. On the next slab (9) enemies are represented in full
flight, with a chariot containing two figures in hot pursuit: and on
the last slab in this compartment, a city, with four battlemented
towers is represented, with women standing between the towers, and
chariots outside the walls.

Some curious fragments of large figures are included in the fifth
compartment. First, there is a bearded head covered with a horned cap;
also, the bust of a figure with the conical cap of the Assyrians: then
the head of a figure, with traces of paint yet upon it, crowned with a
tiara of rosettes. Here also is a fragment representing a king
attended by a strange symbolical winged figure holding the popular
fir-cone in his right hand, and in his left a basket, of which the
visitor will remark a perfect specimen presently. The examination of
these fragments will conduct the visitor to the end of the room, and
before turning to examine the contents of the opposite compartments,
he should pause to notice an obelisk placed hereabouts, which was dug
from the centre of the great mound at Nimroud. It is seven feet in
height, and is inscribed elaborately in the cuneiform character. On
its surface are also engraved representations of various animals
bearing presents.

The visitor will now turn and proceed back towards the door,
examining, by the way, the compartments on his left hand.

The first of these, or the sixth compartment, contains, in addition to
the fragments of figures including the head and shoulders of a king,
and the upper part of an eunuch, two slabs (1,2) upon which is
represented that fruitful subject of the Assyrian sculptor's chisel,
the siege of a castle. The castle, which is represented in the middle
of the battle-piece, and at the water's edge, is attacked by soldiers
on all sides. The vigour of the assailants is well described. On the
left the king directs the attack, with weeping women behind him; the
walls are being scaled by ladders; the besieged are hurling stones
from the ramparts, and casting fire upon a tower and ram, while the
assailants are quenching the flames with water, and two figures are
quietly picking holes in the walls in another direction. Hereabouts
the visitor should notice, placed against the window, a pastoral
subject--a man driving cattle. Upon the next slab, a war chariot in
full speed, passing over a dead lion, is represented; and on the sixth
and last slab of the compartment is another battlepiece. Here the
besieged castle is surrounded by water; one of the besieged is holding
arrows aloft in token of peace, while figures, on inflated skins, swim
towards the walls, and soldiers from the banks are aiming arrows at

The fragments in the seventh compartment may be easily understood from
the descriptions of previous slabs.

The eighth compartment contains some remains which demand particular
notice. The first slab introduces us to a knowledge of the interiors
of Assyrian dwellings. Here the interior of a building is represented
divided into four distinct compartments, and exhibiting various people
at their several household duties. We have even a glimpse at an
Assyrian groom, who, in an adjoining building, is cleaning a horse.
Prisoners are introduced even here, in this domestic scene, conducted
by a warrior to an eunuch; and in the distance are soldiers, with
lions' skins, dancing to the vibrations of a guitar. The second slab
is a continuation of the first. Here men are mounted in war chariots,
while others holding the heads of their enemies in their hands are on
foot: and a bird, grasping in its claws a human head, soars above.
That slab marked 3, and placed against the window hereabouts, was
extracted from the centre of the great mound of Nimroud. Here camels,
preceded by a woman, are pourtrayed. The slab marked 5 bears the
representation of an Assyrian divinity, with four wings, the head
surmounted by the conical cap with two horns, and the left hand
holding a circlet of beads. A winged figure occurs also on the sixth
slab of this compartment, holding a bearded ear of corn in one hand,
and a goat in the other. The slabs of the ninth compartment have also
representations of winged figures. The fourth, with the eagle head,
and holding a fir-cone and a basket. This figure is thus described by
Mr. Layard: "A human body, clothed in robes similar to those of the
winged men already described, was surmounted by the head of an eagle
or of a vulture. The curved beak, of considerable length, was half
open, and displayed a narrow-pointed tongue, on which were still the
remains of red paint. On the shoulders fell the usual curled and bushy
hair of the Assyrian images, and a comb of feathers rose on the top of
the head. Two wings sprang from the back, and in either hand was the
square vessel and fir-cone. In a kind of girdle were three daggers,
the handle of one being in the form of the head of a bull. They may
have been of precious metal, but more probably of copper, inlaid with
ivory or enamel, as a few days before a copper dagger-handle,
precisely similar in form to one of those carried by this figure,
hollowed to receive an ornament of some such material, had been
discovered in the S.W. ruins, and is now preserved in the British
Museum. This effigy, which probably typified by its mythic form the
union of certain divine attributes, may perhaps be identified with the
god Nisroch, in whose temple Sennacherib was slain by his sons after
his return from his unsuccessful expedition against Jerusalem; the
word Nisr signifying, in all Semitic languages, 'an eagle.'"

The slabs arranged in the tenth compartment are interesting. On the
first, two horsemen, whose peaked helmets suggest that they are
Assyrians, are charging another horseman with their spears. Behind is
a bird carrying off the entrails of the killed. The second slab,
covered with an inscription, formed part of the northwest palace.
Winged figures are traceable on other slabs in this compartment; and
in the centre the visitor should remark the only Assyrian statue yet
discovered. It is a seated figure, headless. Between the tenth and
eleventh compartments are placed some painted bricks, used in adorning
the interior of Assyrian edifices. The eleventh and last compartment
contains two slabs, on the first of which is a monarch holding two
arrows in token of peace. Having fully examined these objects, the
visitor has done with the Nimroud room. Of the romantic stories
connected with the researches for the invaluable fragments it
contains, we should be glad to give the reader a faint sketch. How Mr.
Layard struggled against all kinds of difficulties; slept in hovels
not sheltered from the rain; used his table as his roof by night; rode
backwards and forwards from Nimroud to Mosul to expostulate with the
vexatious interferences of a tyrannical old pasha; cheered the labours
of his superstitious workmen; celebrated the discovery of certain
remains with substantial feastings and music: made peace with a
wandering Arab who threatened to rob him: these, and a thousand other
adventures, recorded in his narrative of his discoveries, give an
additional zest to the curiosity with which visitors enter this
Nimroud room.

And now the visitor may make his way back to the great entrance-hall
of the Museum, where his third visit should close. In the hall are
deposited four colossal specimens of sculpture from Nimroud. The first
of these, to which the visitor should direct his attention, is a
colossal figure of a winged human-headed bull, found by Mr. Layard at
the portal of a door at Nimroud. Of the discovery of this marvellous
specimen of ancient Assyrian art, Mr. Layard gives a graphic
account:--"I was returning to the mound, when I saw two Arabs urging
their mares to the top of their speed. On approaching me, they
stopped. 'Hasten, O Bey!' exclaimed one of them, 'hasten to the
diggers; for they have found Nimrod himself. Wallah! it is wonderful,
but it is true! we have seen him with our eyes. There is no god but
God!' and both joining in this pious exclamation, they galloped off,
without further words, in the direction of their tents. On reaching
the ruins I descended into the new trench, and found the workmen, who
had already seen me as I approached, standing near a heap of baskets
and cloaks. Whilst Awad advanced and asked for a present to celebrate
the occasion, the Arabs withdrew the screen they had hastily
constructed, and disclosed an enormous human head, sculptured in full
out of the alabaster of the country. They had uncovered the upper part
of a figure, the remainder of which was still buried in the earth. I
saw at once that the head must belong to a winged lion or bull,
similar to those of Khorsabad and Persepolis. It was in admirable
preservation. The expression was calm, yet majestic; and the outline
of the features showed a freedom and knowledge of art scarcely to be
looked for in works of so remote a period. I was not surprised that
the Arabs had been amazed and terrified at this apparition. It
required no stretch of imagination to conjure up the most strange
fancies. This gigantic head, blanched with age, thus rising from the
bowels of the earth, might well have belonged to one of those fearful
beings which are pictured in the traditions of the country as
appearing to mortals, slowly ascending from the regions below. One of
the workmen, on catching the first glimpse of the monster, had thrown
down his basket, and had run off towards Mosul as fast as his legs
could carry him." The marvellous fidelity and power with which this,
and the colossal human-headed bull are executed, must astonish the
most uninstructed observer. For an account of the marvellous labour at
the cost of which these colossal Assyrian works were conveyed from
Asia Minor to the British Museum, we must refer the reader to Mr.
Layard's excellent condensed account of his researches, published by
Mr. Murray. And with the contemplation of these mysterious monuments
of the past, the visitor should close his third visit to the national

He may usefully recapitulate the points of his present visit. He has
been travelling for hours amongst the wrecks of the remote past. Over
vast tracts of land, where now the Turk lazily dreams away the hours,
or moves only to destroy the remains of the ancient civilisation of
his Asiatic provinces. Throughout this, his third visit, the visitor
has been exploring the revelations of the past, written upon the face
of Turkish provinces. The bigotry with which the explorers of Thebes,
Nimroud, and Xanthus had to contend, is written in their histories of
their labours. How when the human-headed bull was disclosed by the
pick-axes of the Chaldaeans, the Arabs scampered off, and how all the
natives thought that Nimroud himself--the mighty hunter--was rising
grimly from the earth, are points in the discovery of this treasure
which all should read. The vigour with which English and French
explorers have possessed themselves of the treasures of ancient Egypt,
the master-pieces from the Parthenon, the strange stone revelations of
Lycia, and the majestic colossi of ancient Assyria, contrasts forcibly
with the indolence of the Turk, who sat at hand to wonder at the
enthusiasm of his Christian visitors. No more pitiful exhibition of a
national character could be furnished by any passage in the history of
the world than that which describes the ignorant and superstitious
Turk grinding the sculpture of the Parthenon into mortar for his
dwelling house. Truly, in all respects, is this a matter to be
pondered by the general visitor, as he retreats from the national
Museum for the third time. He has not passed an idle day here,
wandering amid sphinxes, and tombs, and temples, and ancient gods.
From the confusion he may gather something that shall not be
altogether a useless subject for reflection as he wanders homewards.
He may link himself with the remote past, recognise the elements of
modern society in these stone revelations of the remote history of the
world, feel the vibration of the great human heart coming to him even
from the bowels of Egypt's pyramids. There he has their family
histories written on their tombstones by weeping relatives; their
religion, with all its debasing idolatry, strong in death, exhibiting
pleasantly the firmness of their faith; splendid sarcophagi tardily
wrought from massive rock, yet perseveringly accomplished in the
strong conviction that the dead would shake off the mummy bandages,
discharge the natron from their pores, reclaim their scattered
intestines, pass the brain back through the nose into the skull, and
once more feel quickening blood in the veins. Proudly men of the
passing century look back upon all this worship of animals, upon the
Egyptian Anubis, and the intestine genii with their animal heads; but
even here, in this field of speculation, where the historian's hand
wanders unsteadily about his page, and all wears a mythical air,
pulses of human emotion are felt that assure us of the remote past.
Strange that the chief chapters of ancient Egypt's history should have
been written for moderns by her undertakers!



The visitor will now enter the museum to complete his inspection of
its contents. His way lies once more to the west on entering the great
hall, into the first Sculpture Gallery, or that which he will
recognise as leading into the great central saloon. Here, as he pauses
on the threshold of a noble room filled with splendid specimens of
Greek art, he may recur to the historical points which these works
illustrate. Throughout this, his last visit, he will be occupied with
the examination of the works of the ancient Greeks. These works, as he
will notice, are of various degrees of excellence. Already has he
examined the rude labours of the Greek sculptors of Xanthus; and
to-day his journey will be amid those more modern and perfect labours,
performed when the talent of the Greeks was chiefly concentrated upon
European ground. Although these glories of remote antiquity are here
mostly in an admirable state of preservation, historians are generally
lost in contradictions when they attempt to point to any particular
piece of statuary as the labour of any known sculptor. The sculptor of
the Venus de Medici is not known; and the Apollo Belvedere is a
masterpiece, the author of which lies shrouded in the depths of the
past. Rude and harsh were the early performances of the Greeks. We
have histories of Greek sculptors who flourished many hundred years
before our era; and of these the mythical Daedalus is the oldest and
most renowned. This sculptor is reported to have flourished fourteen
centuries before the Christian era. He is said to have fashioned
colossal wooden statues; and Pausanias mentions his statue of Hercules
in the possession of the Thebans, and his wooden Venus in the
possession of the Delians. His Hercules, however, appears to have been
considered his masterpiece; and Flaxman, commenting upon the antiquity
of the figures of Hercules found on some coins, seems to think that we
may not unreasonably conjecture that these are copies from the
masterpiece of Daedalus. Other sculptors of the same name, appear to
have flourished in the Achaic period of Grecian history. Indeed it is
shrewdly conjectured that Daedalus derived his name from wooden
statues called Daedala; and that amongst the ancient Greeks, Daedalus
meant nothing more than one skilled in making Daedala. The earliest
sculptures of the Greeks were fashioned of materials easily worked, as
plaster, clay, and wood. Later they worked ivory, and began to
understand the value of metals in statuary; and about five centuries
before the Christian era, marble was used by sculptors for detached
figures. In the infancy of Greek art, when sculptors were gradually
acquiring the skill to fashion their creations out of the most durable
material, many combinations of wood, stone, and metal were used, which
would sadly shock the modern sculptor's eye;--wooden figures burnished
with gold, and with painted vermilion faces, were fashioned in the age
of Phidias; and it is believed by some, that this immortal sculptor
helped to produce a statue of Jupiter, the face of which was of ivory
and gold, and the body of gypsum and clay. Phidias may be fairly
acknowledged as the first great Greek sculptor, of whose career and
whose works we have indisputable accounts. He founded, and represents
all the excellencies of the highest school of Greek art. The sculptors
who came after him, as Lysippus the favourite of the great Alexander,
paid greater regard to graces of detail and to finish; but of those
sublime effects, those forms of gods in human shape which really
impress the modern spectator with their almost superhuman beauty,
Phidias was the creator. The sculptures known to the public as the
Townley collection, are sculptures generally of a more modern date
than those in the Elgin and Phigaleian Saloons. The collection has
undoubtedly many specimens of the rudest eras of Greek art: but its
most striking groups, to the general visitor, will be undoubtedly
those finished statues and compositions which represent the ages when
Greece was a great European power, and that subsequent period when the
Greek sculptors plied their chisels under the patronage of Roman
conquerors. In this room the visitor will once more remark, how large
a proportion of these priceless relics have been gleaned from ancient
sepulchres. Even as he enters the room, he may perceive on the right,
the front of a tomb from Athens, carved in high relief; and on the
left, the front of another tomb, also sculptured, from Delos.

The room is divided into compartments which the visitor should examine
in their regular order of rotation. He will begin therefore, of course
with the


Before the first pilaster let the visitor notice at once a small
seated statue of Cybele or Fortune, from Athens, presented to the
nation by J.S. Gaskoin, Esq. Other remarkable objects to be examined
before the visitor fixes his attention upon the contents of the case
deposited here, are a bust of Demosthenes; a sepulchral altar or
cippus, ornamented with sphinxes, etc.; and a sepulchral stêle,
inscribed with the name of the son of Artemidorus, who is reclining
upon a couch, and crowning himself. Over the case are deposited the
end of a sarcophagus ornamented with a Bacchus reclining on a satyr; a
bust of Julius Cæsar; a sepulchral cippus; and a Greek stêle. On the
case are a head found near Rome, probably of Mercury: and the bust of
a Muse crowned with a laurel wreath.

Having examined these objects, the visitor should occupy himself with
the contents of the case. Here are some beautiful specimens of Greek
art--some mere fragments, others in a wonderful state of preservation.
Here are one of those funeral masks anciently used to cover the face
of a corpse; the votive mask of a bearded satyr; a votive patera with
bas-reliefs representing Silenus and a satyr, another with the head of
a bearded Bacchus, and a panther; various heads of Hercules; a Venus
attended by two Cupids; a bust of Vitellius; a head of Vulcan; a bust
of Caracalla; a head of Juno; a head of the daughter of Titus, Julia;
a mutilated figure, about the neck of which a scarabaeus is suspended;
the torso of a satyr; a variety of fragments, here an arm holding a
butterfly--there two lions' paws--there a gladiator's foot--there the
fragment of a serpent. Having noticed these scraps of ancient art, the
visitor may direct his attention to the lower shelf, where he will
observe some beautiful busts. These include one supposed to be of
Sappho; a Minerva with a Corinthian helmet found at Rome; Bacchus;
Apollo; a Parian marble bust of Diana from Rome; a queenly Juno
wearing the splendone; terminal busts, joined back to back, of
Hercules and Omphale. The upper shelf now remains for inspection. Here
are three sepulchral tablets, and the fronts of two sarcophagi. The
tablet from Crete, within a wreath, contains an inscription
descriptive of honour conferred by the inhabitants of Crete upon an
individual named Alexander, the gift to him being a golden crown.
Having noticed the gay Cupids enacting Bacchanalians upon the first
front of a sarcophagus, the visitor should pass on at once to the


Here, in front of the pilaster, the visitor should remark a curious
square altar, with Silvanus, to whom the altar is dedicated by the
farm servant of Caius Coelius Heliodorus, Callistus; and a trophy
discovered on the plains of Marathon.

Grouped in this division, are some fine works. First let the visitor
remark two white marble Victories discovered in the ruins of the villa
of Antoninus Pius, at Monte Cagnuolo. The first Victory is kneeling
upon a bull which she is about to sacrifice; and the second also is
kneeling upon, and about to stab, a bull. Then a fine bust of a
laughing satyr will arrest the attention of the visitor; then a
colossal foot in a sandal, under the front of a sarcophagus; then the
votive torso, supposed to be that of an Athelete; then a red marble
swan found in a vineyard near the Villa Pinciana; then a terminal
statue of a satyr; then a bust of Diogenes; then a bust, conjectured
to be part of the figure of a dying Amazon; then a bust of Atys.
Turning to the upper shelf of this division, the visitor should notice
the front and ends of a sarcophagus deposited there. Upon these
Bacchus and Ariadne are represented in a chariot, heralded by
Bacchanals, and drawn by Centaurs; and in other parts Pan is being
castigated by a satyr, and carried off by two Cupids aided by a satyr.
Turning to the lower shelf the visitor should examine several antique
busts. First there is a bust, conjectured to be that of Achilles; then
there is an old Hercules; then a Bacchante; then a bust of Aratus; a
female head; and a tragic mask from the lid of a sarcophagus. With the
examination of this shelf the visitor closes his inspection of the
second division, and should at once advance into the


First, let the visitor notice, placed in front of the third pilaster,
a celebrated copy of the statue of Praxiteles, of Cupid bending his
bow. This celebrated copy is four feet, three and a half inches, in
height. It arrived in this country originally as a present to Edmund
Burke, from Rome, by Barry, the painter. Numerous copies of this Cupid
exist, and the one before the visitor is not the best.

In this compartment or division, the visitor should also remark
several sepulchral urns with figures in relief. Amid other sepulchral
monuments are, an altar inscribed by Annia Augustalis, to the manes of
M. Clodius, his brother Felix, and to Tyrannus; and a bas-relief
discovered near the mausoleum of Augustus, representing a Muse
standing before a dramatic poet. Hereabouts also the visitor should
notice an altar, ornamented with bas-reliefs, dedicated by Aurelius
Timotheus to Diana; a small figure of Neptune from Athens; a veiled
Ceres bearing a torch, from Athens; a draped Muse in terra cotta
holding a lyre; and a cippus, with a representation of Silenus riding
a panther. On turning to the lower shelf, the visitor will at once be
struck with the sarcophagi. Here are three Etruscan sarcophagi, two of
alabaster, and one in peperino. On all three are recumbent female
figures, and in front of the first the hunt of the Calydonian boar; of
the second, Scylla; and of the third, a bas-relief representing
Achilles dragging Penthesilea from her chariot. On this shelf also
are, a bas-relief showing Luna encompassed by the signs of the Zodiac,
and a sun-dial supported by the claws and heads of lions. Turning now
to the upper shelf, the visitor should examine the bas-reliefs
deposited thereon. Upon the first, the visitor will notice a funeral
car, shaped like a temple drawn by four horses, with Jupiter and the
Dioscuri on the sides of the car; upon the second, the bas-relief
represents Ulysses and Diomedes detecting Achilles disguised as a
female among the daughters of Lycomedes; and the subject of the third
relief is a marriage in the presence of Juno Pronuba, showing the
bridegroom taking the bride's hand, and holding the marriage contract.
Having glanced at these objects, the visitor's way lies forward to the


Here, in front of the pilaster, the visitor must at once examine the
torso of a statue, supposed to be of Mercury; and a curious Greek
circular altar, ornamented with the heads and fillets of bulls and
stags, and inscribed with the names of Agathemeris and her son
Sosicles of Tlos. Having examined these two prominently placed
objects, the visitor should proceed at once to the general contents of
the division. He will be probably attracted first to two terminal
statues; or statues, of which the lower parts are not developed. They
occur frequently among the remains of Greek sculpture. These terminal
statues were held in great veneration; and they were found placed at
the corners of streets, at the doors of private dwellings, and before
temples. The custom of representing Mercury with a head upon a plain
column, appears to have been the origin of a fashion which the Greeks
subsequently extended to their representations of other deities. The
terminal figure in this division, with the winged cap, illustrates the
generality of these Hermae; it was found near Frascati, in the year
1770. The next remarkable object that will probably attract the
visitor's attention is the figure, found at Rome, of an Egyptian
tumbler, going through his performances on the back of a tame
crocodile, a barbarous species of entertainment undoubtedly, but not
more repulsive than that of the French aerönaut of last year, floating
over Paris on the back of an ostrich. Hereabouts are placed also a
small statue of the three-fold Hecate, a Diana found in the
Giustiniani Palace at Rome; a bust of Jupiter, conjectured to be a
copy from the work of the celebrated sculptor Polycletus, and a
sphinx. Here, too, are some interesting bas-reliefs. Upon one a
Bacchante (supposed to be a copy from Scopas), is represented with a
knife in her hand, and holding part of a kid; upon another (part of a
sarcophagus), Priam is represented praying to Achilles to give up
Hector's body; upon a third (a cippus) birds are drinking; and upon a
fourth (a fountain) are Pans and satyrs. Before turning to the lower
shelf, the visitor should also notice in this neighbourhood a
beautiful group of two dogs, found on the Monte Cagnuolo; a votive
foot, with a coiling serpent, and one or two sepulcral urns with
inscriptions. Upon the lower shelf are deposited an interesting series
of busts, including one of the Emperor Septimius Severus, found on the
Palatine Hill; one of Hadrian, found at Tivoli, on the site of
Hadrian's Villa; one from Athens, of the Emperor Nero; and one of
Caracalla, found in the Nunnery Gardens at the Quatro Fontane, on the
Esquiline Hill. Upon the upper shelf are two busts in relief, and the
front of a sarcophagus, with elaborate representations of the Muses.
Here is Terpsichore with the lyre of dancing, Thalia with the mask of
comedy. And now the way lies once more forward, into the


Before the fifth pilaster is a notable piece of sculpture found in the
villa of Antoninus Pius--an erect figure of the youthful Bacchus
clothed in the skin of a panther; and here also is a square altar
ornamented with sphinxes in bas-relief, Apollo, Diana, and various
religious symbols. A colossal toe attracts considerable attention in
this division. It may have been an ornament in the rooms of an
Eisenberg of the ancients, but more probably has been lost by a god.
Let the visitor pause here before the terminal bust of Aeschines the
orator, who impeached Demosthenes out of jealousy for his popularity
with the people of Athens, and sullenly retired, after losing his
cause and being mulcted of a thousand drachmas as the accuser, to
Rhodes, where he occupied himself in teaching rhetoric. Other terminal
statues occur in this division. Among these, in a glass, are small
terminal busts, joined back to back, of Bacchus and Libera; three
yellow and red marble heads of Libera; a yellow marble bearded
Bacchus; and the bust of a Greek poet discovered at Bitolia.
Hereabouts also are, a female head, the eyes of which have traces of
inlaying; a bas-relief of Antinous; a curious female head, with the
hair of a distinct block of marble, fitted upon it; the head of a
child from Rome; the head of Jupiter from the corner of a sarcophagus;
busts of Hercules and Serapis; a remarkable altar in the Egyptian
style, curiously carved with the bull Apis, and Harpocrates drawn in a
car by a hippopotamus. Turning to the upper shelf, the visitor will
notice a satyr playing on a flute; six Amazons carved upon the
fragment of a sarcophagus; and a sarcophagus found at Tusculum, with
representations of Cupids bearing away the arms of Mars. A series of
busts are deposited upon the lower shelf. These include busts of the
wife of the Emperor Domitian; bust of Olympia; bust of the wife of
Hadrian, Julia Sabina; bust of Tiberius; and a bust of Augustus.
Before leaving this room the visitor should not fail to notice a few
antiquities which should particularly interest him. These form a group
of relics found in this country. They illustrate the doings of the
Romans in this country.


The first of these objects which the visitor will remark, is a curious
cylindrical sarcophagus, discovered in the neighbourhood of St.
Alban's, so lately as the year 1831. It contained some Roman vases.
Another sarcophagus found at Southfleet, in Kent, is also included in
the collection. In this sarcophagus several interesting relics were
discovered, including a vessel containing burnt bones; and purple
leather shoes embroidered with gold, and in the same neighbourhood
other relics, including an earthern vessel, also containing bones,
were found. The next object to which the visitor should direct his
attention is the old cistern of a blacksmith, which had been found at
Chesterford, in Essex, which turned out to be an ancient relic
sculptured in high relief with figures of Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, and
Venus. Three or four Roman altars found in various parts of the
country, one to AEsculapius; a bas-relief of a Roman standard of the
second legion; and pigs of lead inscribed with the names of Roman
emperors. Having examined these objects, the visitor should pass at
once westward into the


He may here take a seat for a few moments and read the points of
history which belong to this saloon, before he commences his
examination of it. One year, while the present century was young,
fifteen gentlemen encamped round about the ruins of a temple, known to
the neighbouring inhabitants as the "columns." These columns were
those believed to be the ruins of a temple of Apollo Epicurius, built
by the citizens of ancient Phigaleia, in Arcadia. These "columns" were
situated upon a shelf of land, high up the side of Mount Cotilium, and
surrounded by a rich and various landscape. Lying scattered about were
the shattered fragments of the sculptured frieze of the temple; and,
with infinite labour the camp of explorers succeeded in gathering
together and arranging the slabs which are now deposited in this, the
Phigaleian saloon. To the sound of Arcadian music, workmen excavated
in the neighbourhood of these ruins; and in 1814 the Prince Regent
obtained a grant of 15,000£. to purchase them for the British Museum.

The subjects represented by these sculptures are, the battle of the
Centaurs and the Lapithae, and the war between the Amazons and
Athenians--mythical struggles upon which Greek sculptors were fond of
exercising their imagination. THE BATTLE OF THE CENTAURS is the first
to which the visitor should direct his attention. The origin of this
myth is thus described by Sir Henry Ellis: "The story of the Centaurs,
it is remarked, is of Thessalian origin. The people of Thessaly were
remarkably expert in horsemanship, and were supposed to be the first
in Greece who practised the art of riding on horseback. Pelion, and
other mountains in this part of Greece, abounding in wild bulls, these
ferocious animals were frequently hunted by the people of the country
on horseback, and when overtaken were seized by their pursuers, who
caught hold of them by the horns, in a manner not less dexterous than
daring. Hence, these hunters acquired the name of Centauri and
Hippocentauri. The novel sight of a man seated on a horse, and
galloping over the plains with more than human velocity, might easily
suggest to the minds of an ignorant peasantry, the idea of an animal
composed partly of a man and partly of a horse; and it was from this
simple origin, according to some explanations, that the fable of the
Centaurs sprung. We must remark, that we place no confidence in the
proposed etymology of the word Centauros, and almost as little in the
explanation of the story. The centaur Chiron in Homer was a model of
justice, and the poet appears to have had no idea of the monstrous
combination of two animals. Pindar, in his second Pythian Ode, first
makes us acquainted with the Hippocentaur, or half horse and half man.
Though it cannot be imagined that the Greeks ever regarded this
tradition otherwise than as a fable, so far as the double nature of
the animal was concerned, yet it is curious, to observe, with what
care and devotion they recorded the particulars of this fiction in
their poems, sculpture, paintings, and other monuments of art. The
Centaurs were invited to the nuptials of Pirithous, king of the
Lapithae. During the marriage feast, one of the Centaurs, named
Eurytion, or Eurytus, with the characteristic brutality of his nature,
and elated by the effects of wine, offered violence to the person of
Hippodamia, the bride. This outrageous act was immediately resented by
Theseus, the friend of Pirhitous, who hurled a large vessel of wine at
the head of the offender, which brought him lifeless to the ground. A
general engagement then ensued between the two parties; and the
Centaurs not only sought to revenge the death of their companion,
Eurytus, but likewise attempted to carry off the females who were
guests at the nuptials. In this conflict, sustained on both sides with
great fury, the Centaurs were finally vanquished, and driven out of
Thessaly; after which they took up their abode in Arcadia, where they
provoked the anger of Hercules, who completely destroyed the whole of
their race. Such is the general outline of the mythic history of the

Bearing this outline of the classical story in his mind, the visitor
may at once proceed to examine the first eleven slabs upon which the
incidents in the story of the Centaurs and the Lapithae are
elaborated. The visitor will, of course, begin with tablet No. 1, and
proceed to the others in the regular order in which they are marked.

On approaching the first slab (1) the visitor will perceive a Centaur
overcome by two Lapithae, and about to be dispatched. Another Centaur
from behind, however, arrests the uplifted arm of one Lapitha. The
battle proceeds fiercely on the second slab (2). A Centaur is tearing
the shoulder of a Lapitha with his teeth, while the Lapitha drives a
stout sword direct into his assailant's body. A dead Centaur lies in
the foreground, and the heels of the stabbed Centaur strike against
the shield of a second Lapitha. The origin of the battle begins to
appear on the third slab (3), where a woman is represented with a
child in her arms resisting the violence of a Centaur, while another
Centaur at the further end of the slab is getting the better of a
kneeling Lapitha. The fourth tablet would be probably unintelligible
to the general visitor without special explanation. Here the Centaurs
are endeavouring to crush an enemy with huge blocks of stone. This
particular enemy is the Caeneus of Greek fable, whom Neptune had
rendered invulnerable to the effect of swords and clubs, and whom
Centaurs are endeavouring to overcome by crushing his body with masses
of rock. The fifth slab (5) presents a more cheerful view of the
battle for the Lapithae; here two Centaurs are being overcome by two
of their enemies in revenge for their brutal conduct at the bridal
banquet. The sixth tablet (6) again illustrates the hazards of war.
Here a female is between two of the brutal Centaurs, one of whom has
felled a Lapitha to the ground; but the left hand part of the slab is
so mutilated that the merits of the sculpture are here hardly
appreciable. The seventh (7) slab also represents the Lapithae losing
ground. Here, it has been shrewdly conjectured the chief personages of
the battle are represented. The female in the arms of the Centaur is
supposed to be Hippodamia; and the figure struggling from the grasp of
another Centaur, that of King Pirithous fighting for his outraged
bride. The next tablet (8) is in a very dilapidated condition. The
central figure is that of a muscular Centaur, with his mantle flowing
from his neck, in the act of hurling something at a Lapitha who stands
stoutly on the defensive, while in the further corner a female with
her child is flying from pursuers. The ninth tablet (9) discovers two
vanquished Centaurs, and Lapithae in the act of dispatching their
mongrel enemies. The battle is represented at its climax on the next
slab (10). Here, as the wicked Centaur, Eurytion, is disrobing the
King's bride, and her bridesmaid is indulging in exaggerated attitudes
of despair, a figure supposed to be that of the renowned founder of
Athens, Theseus, springs upon the Centaur's shoulders, and drags back
his head, that the brute may not gaze upon the charms he would
pollute. The figure behind the bride is supposed to represent Diana,
the goddess of Chastity. It is a pity that the leg and arm of the
Theseus, and one arm of the bridesmaid are fractured. The last slab of
those sculptured with the battle of the Centaurs, represents Apollo
and Diana in a car--Apollo the deliverer; Diana the guardian of female
chastity. Having fully examined these beautiful specimens of Greek art
of the time of Pericles, the visitor should turn at once to the
remaining slabs, which are devoted to the illustration of


Plutarch gives a graphic account of those dissensions between Theseus
and the Amazons, which terminated in the famous war here celebrated.
"Philochorus," he says, "and some others relate, that he (Theseus)
sailed in company with Hercules into the Euxine Sea, to wage war with
the Amazons, and that he received Antiope as the reward of his valour,
but the greater number, (among whom are Pherecydes, Hellanicus, and
Herodotus,) tell us, that Theseus made the voyage with his own fleet
alone, some time after Hercules, and took that Amazon captive, which
is indeed the more probable account; for we do not read that any other
of his fellow-warriors made any Amazon prisoner. But Bion says, he
took and carried her off by a stratagem. The Amazons (he informs us)
being naturally lovers of men, were so far from avoiding Theseus when
he touched upon their coasts, that they sent him presents. Theseus
invited Antiope, who brought them, into his ship, and, as soon as she
was aboard, set sail. But the account of one Menecrates, who published
a history of Nice in Bithynia, is that Theseus, having Antiope aboard
his vessel, remained in those parts some time; and that he was
attended in this expedition by three young men of Athens, who were
brothers, Enneos, Thoas, and Solon. The last of these, unknown to the
rest, fell in love with Antiope, and communicated his passion to one
of his companions, who applied to Antiope about the affair. She firmly
rejected his pretensions, but treated him with civility, and prudently
concealed the matter from Theseus. But Solon, in despair, having
leaped into a river and drowned himself, Theseus, then sensible of the
cause, and the young man's passion, lamented his fate, and in his
sorrow recollected an order of the priestess, which he had formerly
received at Delphi; that when, in some foreign country, he should
labour under the greatest affliction, he should build a city there,
and leave some of his followers to govern it. Hence, he called the
city which he built Pythopolis, after the Pythian god, and the
neighbouring river, in honour of the young man, Solon. He left the two
surviving brothers to govern it, and give it laws; and along with them
Hermus, who was of one of the best families in Athens. From him the
inhabitants of Pythopolis call a certain place in their city Hermus's
House, and, by exchanging an accent, transfer the honour from the hero
to the god (Mercury). Hence the war with the Amazons took its rise:
and it appears to have been no slight or womanish enterprise, for they
could not have encamped in the town, or joined battle on the ground
about the Pnyx and the Museum, or fallen in so intrepid a manner upon
the city of Athens, unless they had first reduced the country about
it. It is difficult, indeed, to believe (though the story is told by
Hellanicus) that they crossed the Cimmerian Bosphorus upon the ice,
but that they encamped almost in the heart of the city, is confirmed
by the names of places, and by the tombs of those that perished
there." The Amazons, according to fabulous history, were a warlike
race of women, who reared only their female children, and lived as a
nation apart from the male sex. They are said to have founded many
cities in Asia Minor, to have been expert horsewomen, and to have
amputated their left breast the more easily to use their bows. Greek
sculptors delighted to avail themselves of this mythic war between men
and women, in which the heroes do not appear to have used their
weapons lightly, in consideration of the sex of their opponents. The
splendid group by Kiss, casts of which are now in many English homes,
shows that the capacity to deal with the classic subject has not
altogether faded from the world. The Amazons themselves bid fair to
accomplish a resurrection across the Atlantic. Rumours reach us here
in England of female societies associated to make war upon the tyranny
of the opposite sex, and to adopt certain eccentricities of costume.
It is not improbable that these agitators will soon constitute
themselves into a distinct nation, and defy the valour of the
masculine Yankee.

The visitor, on turning, thus far informed, to the slabs upon which
the war with the Amazons is represented, will notice that these mythic
females present no appearance of the rumoured amputation. The weapons
that should be in the hands of most of the figures are lost, but it is
believed that they were of bronze, and the holes by which they were
fastened to the hands of the figures may yet be traced. On presenting
himself before the first slab (12), the visitor will see the figure of
an Athenian dragging an Amazon to the ground by her hair, while
another Amazon is protecting a fallen sister in the corner. This scene
will shock the gallantry of the unprepared visitor, who should,
nevertheless, compose himself to explain to his partner the kind of
women with whom the Athenians had to deal. The second slab (13),
represents a wounded Amazon sinking to the earth, and an Athenian and
an Amazon in full combat, but upon the third (14), the visitor will
remark the havoc which the Amazons could make. Here, on the right, an
Athenian protecting himself from attack with his shield, is leading a
wounded man from the field, and to the right a male figure is bearing
off a body, from which a central Amazon is snatching a shield. On the
next slab (15), two Amazons are engaged with two Athenians. To the
left, where the head of the vanquished Amazon remains, the slab is
much injured; but to the right the Athenian felled by the Amazon is
clearly distinguishable. A wounded Athenian lies in the left corner of
the next slab (16), supported by a companion; while another Athenian
is endeavouring to beat off a lusty Amazon, who appears determined to
fight for every inch of the ground. For the first time an Amazon
occurs on horseback on the next slab (17). Here a sturdy Athenian is
dragging her from her seat, while another Amazon is warding off a
blow, and preparing to strike one at the same time, in the right
corner. The central figure of the next slab (18), (the longest in the
collection,) is the hero Theseus, recognisable by the lion's skin
about him, the huge paw of which lies against his left leg. Theseus,
who is about to deal a deadly blow at a mounted Amazon (whose body is
effaced), is prevented by an interposing Amazon, while an Athenian,
who is trampled upon by the horse, is preparing to do severe work with
his sword. To the right, an Athenian is unceremoniously removing a
wounded Amazon from her fallen horse. The next group (19) represents
two couples fighting: an Athenian, protected by a helmet and cuirass,
has thrown an Amazon, and on the right of the slab an Amazon has
thrown an Athenian. The next slab (20) is severely mutilated; but an
Amazon attending to a wounded companion, and others fighting in the
left corner are distinguishable. The next tablet represents two
Athenians and two Amazons; the central figure (an Athenian) has his
foot upon the knee of a fallen Amazon, who appears to be asking mercy.
The last slab but one (22) represents an Athenian dragging an Amazon
from an altar, while to the right an Amazon is vigorously assailing
another Athenian. Upon the last slab (23) are four Amazons and one
wounded Athenian, who is endeavouring to ward off an impending blow
from the central figure. Having noticed these slabs, the wondrous
workmanship of which must surprise the most indifferent and
ill-informed observer, the visitor should at once turn to the other
fragments arranged and numbered in the saloon. The fragments marked
successively from 24 to 40, are parts of the temple to Apollo, from
which the Phigaleian slabs were taken. Having cursorily examined
these, the visitor should at once turn to the fragment of a
bas-relief, marked 41, which properly belongs to the Elgin collection.
Here Hercules is represented holding Diomed, King of Thrace, by the
head, and is about to strike him. Further on are some interesting
relics, collected by Colonel Leake. First, there is a headless female
statue, draped, from Sparta (43); then the torso of a naked Apollo
from the Peloponnese; then a small, shattered Hercules, without head,
arms, or feet, found on the coast of Laconia. Proceeding with his
examination of the miscellaneous objects in the saloon, he may notice
successively, the head of Jupiter, from Phrygia (47); a curious
sepulchral inscription from Halicarnassus (48), forbidding any one,
except relations, from occupying the tomb to which it belonged; a
bas-relief from Thessaly (51) representing a dedication of hair to
Poseidon: an alto-relievo torso of Triton (56); and the pedestal of
the statue of Jupiter Urius (55), which stood in the temple of that
god, at the mouth of the Euxine.

Directing his attention to the fragments which occupy the wall space
below the Phigaleian frieze, he will find eleven fine bas-reliefs from
the celebrated tomb erected at Halicarnassus, in the year 353 B.C., in
honour of Mausolus, King of Caria, by Artemisia, his wife. Here the
power of the later Greek sculptors is employed upon the battles of the
Athenians with the Amazons. Above the Phigaleian frieze, against the
walls are placed two pediments, copied from those which ornamented the
western and eastern ends of the temple of Jupiter Panhellenius, in

Among the miscellaneous fragments in the saloon, the visitor has yet
to notice a fine torso of a nude Venus; a statue of Discobolus, who is
throwing a quoit, found in Hadrian's Villa Tiburtina; part of a statue
of Hymen; and at the ends of the saloon the visitor should notice some
specimens from the old temple of Selinus, which are valued as probably
representing some of the earliest extant specimens of Greek art. Among
the subjects represented are Perseus killing the Gorgon Medusa, and
Hercules and the Cecrops. Having examined these objects, the visitor
has brought his examination of the Phigaleian Saloon to a close, and
he should forthwith enter upon the great labour of his fourth visit,
by proceeding to the west into the noble room devoted to the


These marbles have become celebrated throughout the civilised world,
and the name of Elgin is inseparably connected henceforth with the
finest extant specimens of the power of Phidias. The artistic
excellencies of these relics of a remote civilisation have been so
frequently explained to the public, and their beauties are so
generally felt, that it suffices to introduce the general visitor to
the room, and to guide him about it, without bidding him halt to learn
the estimation set upon these works by great art authorities. After he
has received the natural impression which these works cannot fail to
produce on his mind, he may wish to know something of the times and
men which these represent; he may be glad to learn so much as is known
of Phidias. No man even with the poorest sense of the beautiful can,
we apprehend, wander about this saloon without being touched.
Therefore we proceed at once to guide the visitor on his journey. But
it is necessary that he should know something of the building, of
which these fragments formed parts:--"The Parthenon," says Colonel
Leake, "was constructed entirely of white marble, from Mount
Pentelicus. It consisted of a cell, surrounded with a peristyle, which
had eight Doric columns in the fronts, and seventeen in the sides.
These forty-six columns were six feet two inches in diameter at the
base, and thirty-four feet in height, standing upon a pavement, to
which there was an ascent of three steps. The total height of the
temple above its platform was about sixty-five feet. Within the
peristyle at either end, there was an interior range of six columns,
of five feet and a half in diameter, standing before the end of the
cell, and forming a vestibule to its door. There was an ascent of two
steps into these vestibules from the peristyle. The cell, which was
sixty-two feet and a half broad within, was divided into two unequal
chambers, of which the western was forty-three feet ten inches long,
and the eastern ninety-eight feet seven inches. The ceiling of the
former was supported by four columns, of about four feet in diameter,
and that of the latter by sixteen columns of about three feet. It is
not known of what order were the interior columns of either chamber.
Those of the western having been thirty-six feet in height, their
proportion must have been nearly the same as that of the Ionic columns
of the vestibule of the Propylaea, whence it seems highly probable
that the same order was used in the interior of both those
contemporary buildings. In the eastern chamber of the Parthenon, the
smallness of the diameter of the columns leaves little doubt that
there was an upper range, as in the temples of Paestum and AEgina. It
is to be lamented that no remains of any of them have been found, as
they might have presented some new proofs of the taste and invention
of the architects of the time of Pericles.

"Such was the simple construction of this magnificent building, which,
by the united excellencies of materials, design, and decorations, was
the most perfect ever executed. Its dimensions of two hundred and
twenty-eight feet by a hundred and two, with a height of sixty-six
feet to the top of the pediment, were sufficiently great to give an
impression of grandeur and sublimity, which was not disturbed by any
obtrusive subdivision of parts, such as is found to diminish the
effects of some larger modern buildings, where the same singleness of
design is not observed. In the Parthenon, whether viewed at a small or
at a great distance, there was nothing to divert the spectator's
contemplation from the simplicity and majesty of mass and outline,
which forms the first and most remarkable object of admiration in a
Greek temple; and it was not until the eye was satiated with the
contemplation of the entire edifice, that the spectator was tempted to
examine the decorations with which this building was so profusely
adorned; for the statues of the pediments, the only decoration which
was very conspicuous by its magnitude and position, being enclosed
within frames, which formed an essential part of the design of either
front, had no more obtrusive effect than an ornamented capital to a
single column."

Bearing this outline of the building in mind, the visitor may at once
proceed to examine the ruins of this fine monument of ancient genius,
which are deposited in the Elgin Saloon of our National Museum. First,
he may notice those alto-relievos, known as the


The subject of these sculptures has been familiarised to the visitor
in the Phigaleian marbles. Here, again, is the war of the Athenians,
on behalf of the Lapithae, with the Centaurs, the sculptor's subject.
On entering the room, the visitor will notice various numbers on each
marble: THE RED NUMBERS are those to which we refer throughout.

The first metope to which the visitor will, in natural order, direct
his attention, is that marked 1. Here an Athenian has his knee upon
the back of a Centaur and one arm round his neck, while the other
(which is broken off) was evidently represented raised to strike a
fatal blow into the Centaur's body. The second metope (2) also
represents an Athenian subduing a Centaur. This group is much injured,
the head of the Athenian and that of the Centaur being missing; but
the Athenian has his knee firmly planted upon his brutal enemy's hind
quarters, and his arm (strongly developed) was evidently firmly
clutching the Centaur's hair. The third metope (3) shows an Athenian
under very disadvantageous circumstances. Here a Centaur is about to
deal a tremendous blow with a wine vessel at the head of his crouching
enemy, who is endeavouring to ward off its effects with his ample
shield. The heads of these figures are casts from the originals, which
are in the Royal Museum at Copenhagen. The fourth metope (4) has been
so mutilated that the figure of the Athenian, which was once upon it,
is wholly effaced, and the Centaur has the head, part of two legs, and
both arms, wanting. Originally the Centaur was holding an Athenian by
his hair. The fifth metope (5) is also much mutilated; but here both
figures were evidently represented mutually confident of victory. A
vigorous action is represented upon the sixth metope (6), where an
Athenian is seizing a Centaur by the throat, while, with the right
hand, he is prepared to deal a fatal stroke. The seventh metope (7) is
much mutilated; but the figure of an Athenian thrown, and a Centaur
trampling upon him, are clearly discernible. There is fine action in
the eighth metope (8), where the Centaur has seized his adversary by
the foot, and is hurling him backwards to the earth. Under the
Athenian the visitor will notice a circular drinking vessel,
indicative of the revel at which the cause of quarrel originated. The
next metope (9) (or rather a cast from the metope in the Louvre at
Paris) represents a Centaur in the act of seizing a female, who is
resisting him: both heads are wanted. The drapery about the female is
beautifully executed. Matters have arrived at a desperate pitch with
the combatants represented on the tenth metope (10), where the
Centaur, with starting eyes and uplifted arms, is about to strike a
determined Athenian, who has planted his foot against the Centaur's
breast, and is determined to do his work. The next metope (11) is a
fine specimen of sculpture. Here an Athenian has seized a Centaur by
the jaw, from behind. The drapery that falls from the fine form of the
Greek is exquisitely folded, and the figure itself is finished with
masterly skill. A victorious Centaur holding forth a mantle of lion's
skin, is the central figure of the next metope (12). Below lies the
dead body of an Athenian: all the muscles marked and rigid. It is
supposed that the following metope (13) represents the Centaur
Eurytion carrying off Hippodamia. The drapery of the female figure is
exquisite. The fourteenth metope (14) represents an Athenian thrown by
a Centaur. The Athenian, however, is not idle, having buried a weapon
in the left side of his adversary, and attempting to seize a stone
with his left hand. The fifteenth metope (15) represents a Centaur
holding an Athenian; while the Athenian has revenged himself by
planting that decisive kind of blow known in pugilistic circles as "a
bruiser" upon the Centaur's cheek. This metope is more angular in
execution than the other metopes; and was probably executed, under the
guidance of Phidias, by one of the old school of Greek sculptors. The
last, or sixteenth metope (16), is supposed to have been executed by
the same inferior hand as that employed upon the fifteenth. Here the
contest between the Centaur and the Athenian is undecided. Metope 16c
has been recently discovered at Athens.

Having fully examined these fine specimens of Greek sculpture, the
visitor may at once turn to other parts of the great temple, examining
now and then, to guide his impressions, the restored model which
stands near the south-east corner of the room. His business is now
with the frieze that ran round the building behind the columns, and
upon which a series of bas-reliefs were sculptured; of which Sir Henry
Ellis gives the following clear outline:--


"One of the richest objects with which Phidias embellished the outside
of the temple of the Parthenon, was, without doubt, that uninterrupted
series of bas-reliefs which occupied the upper part of the walls
within the colonnade, at the height of the frieze of the Pronaos, and
which was continued entirely round the building. The situation
afforded to the work only a secondary light, and, so far, prescribed
to Phidias the manner in which he was to direct the execution of the

"From the position intended for it, it was evident that the direct
rays of the sun could never reach the Panathenaic frieze. Being placed
immediately below the soffit, it received all its light from between
the columns, and by reflection from the pavement below. The flatness
of the sculpture is thus sufficiently accounted for; had the relief
been prominent, the upper parts could not have been seen; the shade
projected by the sculpture would have rendered it dark, and the parts
would have been reduced by their shadows. The frieze could only be
seen in an angle of forty-two degrees and a half.

"The subject represented the sacred procession which was celebrated
every fifth year in honour of Minerva, the guardian goddess of the
city, and embraced in its composition all the external observances of
the highest festival of the Athenians.

"The blocks of marble of which the frieze was composed were three feet
four inches high; they were placed about nine feet within the external
row of columns; and occupied, slab after slab, a space of five hundred
and twenty-four feet in length. As a connected subject, this was the
most extensive piece of sculpture ever made in Greece. The images of
the gods, deified heroes, basket bearers, bearers of libatory vessels,
trains of females, persons of every age and sex, men on horseback,
victims, charioteers--in short, the whole people were represented in
it conveying, in solemn pomp, to this very temple of the Parthenon,
the sacred veil which was to be suspended before the statue of the
goddess within.

"Meursius, in his Panathenaea and Reliquiae Atticae, has collected
from ancient authors many particulars concerning this Peplus. It was
the work of young virgins selected from the best families in Athens,
over whom two of the principal, called Arrephorae, were
superintendents. On it was embroidered the battle of the gods and
giants; amongst the gods was Jupiter hurling his thunderbolts against
the rebellious crew, and Minerva, seated in her chariot, appeared as
the vanquisher of Typhon or Enceladus. In the Hecuba of Euripides, the
chorus of captive Trojan females are lamenting, in anticipation, the
evils which they will suffer in the land of the Greeks. 'In the city
of Pallas, of Athena, on the beautiful seat in the woven peplus I
shall yoke colts to a chariot, painting them in various different
coloured threads, or else the races of the Titans, whom Zeus, the son
of Kronos, puts to sleep in fiery all-surrounding flame.' The names of
those Athenians who had been eminent for military virtue, were also
embroidered on it. This will explain the following allusion in the
Knights of Aristophanes, where the chorus says--'We wish to praise our
fathers, because they were an honour to this country and worthy of the
_peplus_: in battles by land and in the ship-girt armament conquering
on all occasions they exalted this city.' When the festival was
celebrated, this peplus was brought from the Acropolis, where it had
been worked, down into the city; it was then displayed and suspended
as a sail to the ship, which on that day, attended by a numerous and
splendid procession, was conducted through the Ceramicus and other
principal parts, till it had made the circuit of the Acropolis; it was
then carried up to the Parthenon, and there consecrated to Minerva."
This splendid series of sculptures forms the gem of the Elgin
collection. The museum possesses no less than two hundred feet of the
original frieze, in addition to upwards of seventy feet in casts. The
wonderful variety, the perfect drawing, the classic grace, and the
unity of conception displayed in this work, entitle it to rank as the
most precious relic of antiquity saved to moderns from the wrecks of
time. Starting from the left side of the entrance door to the south,
the visitor begins his inspections of


or those portions which decorated the eastern end of the Parthenon.
These are marked from 17 to 24. The introductory slab (17) represents
a procession of Greek virgins, with their long flowing draperies
beautifully modelled, as the visitor will at once perceive. Some are
carrying vessels for the libations. The next slab (18) has some
interesting figures. The four standing figures, which are to the left
of the two, supposed to represent Castor and Pollux, are supposed to
represent Hierophants explaining away mysteries, while the others are
students of the doctrines taught at the festival. The next slab, which
is the longest in the collection (19), is said to have been originally
placed above the eastern gate of the temple. Here are females
delivering offerings in baskets to one who appears to preside. On the
left, a man of dignified bearing is receiving a large roll from a
youth, which Visconti supposed to be the embroidered veil. Here seated
on a throne is Jupiter, with the arms supported by two sphinxes. Here,
too, is a goddess removing her veil, supposed by some to be Juno, and
by others Mercury. At the end of the slab the visitor will remark old
AEsculapius, and the figure of his daughter with a serpent twined
about her left arm, as Hygieia, or Health. The marble let into the
wall below the frieze, and marked 20, is a perfect cast from a marble
partly in that marked 21 and partly in that marked 22. Slabs 23, 24
have continuations of the procession, consisting of females draped,
bearing vessels and torches. These women were selected from the
noblest families of Athens. The fragment marked 25 closes those which
adorn the eastern front. It represents a mutilated figure of one of
the Metoeci, or strangers, bearing a tray filled originally with
provisions. From the eastern the visitor should proceed to the slabs
of the


These are marked from 26 to 46. On the first of this series a youth
was originally represented receiving a crown of honour in a chariot
race. Then follow successively five slabs, all bearing bas-reliefs of
chariots and charioteers. These slabs are greatly admired by artists,
and are said, at the present day, to be perhaps the finest specimens
of bas-relief extant. After the chariots with more notable people
forming the procession, the successive marbles marked 32 to 43 are
filled up with the groups of horsemen who followed the chariots. The
forms of the animals are beautifully grouped and executed; and may,
after the many centuries of time that have elapsed since they were
placed behind the Parthenon columns, be consulted by the modern artist
as the finest extant models upon which he can exercise his student's
hand. On the slabs 36, 7, how finely are the horses and riders
grouped, and how firmly and gracefully is the rude figure upon the
central horse of the second slab posed! Having sufficiently admired
these fine groups, the visitor should at once turn to the slab marked
46. Here, a young man standing near his horse is about to crown
himself; while a standing figure to the right appears to have
dismounted, and to be suffering some adjustment of dress by a servant
behind him. At the right end of this slab is a figure seen sideways,
and representing the first part of the decoration of the


Only one of the fifteen slabs of the western frieze is the original
marble:--the rest are casts from the frieze still adorning the ruins
of the temple. The western frieze is included in the slabs marked from
47 to 61. The marble in the possession of the museum from the western
frieze is, however, one of great value. It represents two mounted
horsemen--the whole exquisitely carved. Passing forward from this, the
forty-eighth slab (48) represents a horse to which three men are
attending. Mounted horsemen also fill up the next two slabs (49, 50).
On the fifty-first a rider is represented habited in full armour, with
another rider, dismounted, who appears to be rubbing a hurt on his
left leg. The two following slabs (52,3) are horses and men;--on the
latter, a dismounted man in a flowing robe endeavouring to curb a
rearing steed. On the next slab (54) are two horsemen mounted, the one
to the right wearing a hat that has a modern appearance, and is
similar to those worn by dignitaries of the Greek church at the
present time. A fine horse and graceful horseman occur in the right
corner of the slab 55,--the action of the horse is finely sculptured.
The remaining sculptures of the western frieze represent figures of
mounted and dismounted horsemen, of which the visitor may notice the
graceful figures on slab 57 (where the horse is rubbing his leg), and
slab 60, where the figure to the right appears to be only preparing to
join the procession. Having examined these, the visitor should at once
proceed to examine the remarkable points of the


These are numbered from 62 to 90, and reach back to the northern side
of the entrance to the saloon. The slabs marked from 62 to 77 consist
of horsemen, galloping, often two or three abreast: some with helmets
and armour, and others nude; and the slabs marked from 78 to 82 have
sculptures of chariots drawn by four horses (mostly) abreast. These,
however, present no new points to which it is necessary to draw the
visitor's particular attention. The business of the festival, &c.,
begins to be apparent in the seven last slabs (84-90). Here the
victims appear. In the first (85) a bull appears to be giving no
little trouble to some attendants, and to be utterly regardless of the
solemnity of the occasion. A bull, full of action, is the principal
object on the next slab (86): and on the next (87), one appears calmly
walking to his doom. Upon the return of the slab (90) is a figure
finely executed, supposed to be that of a magistrate surveying the
progress of the procession. The sacrificial oxen are said to be
masterly representations of the finest specimens of these animals.

Having examined these bas-reliefs, the visitor should at once turn to
the groups which occupied central space in the saloon, and which
originally adorned the eastern and western pediments of the Parthenon.


These occupy the central space towards the southern end of the saloon.
The group on the eastern pediment originally represented the birth of
Minerva. The visitor will probably be first attracted to the great
recumbent figure marked 93, generally believed to have represented
Theseus, the Athenian hero, whose biography opens the series of
Plutarch's Lives. The figure is now much mutilated; the nose has been
chipped, and the feet are wanting, but still the form reclining on a
rock is majestic. Mr. Westmacott, in a lecture, gave his reasons for
believing that this statue was meant for Cephalus, of whom Aurora was
enamoured, and not Theseus. "This work [the pediment] it must be
observed, related to the most remarkable event in Athenian mythology,
and was confined only to that event. All the gods of Olympus were
present at the birth of Minerva. Now Theseus was not only not in
existence, but was patronised and protected by Minerva; it would seem,
therefore, extraordinary that he should be admitted as a witness of
her birth. If it is really Theseus, he could only have been introduced
by Phidias in compliment to the Athenians; but whether this could on
so very sacred an occasion have been allowed, may very reasonably be
doubted. Hercules, even the older, or Idaean Hercules, was, upon the
same principle, equally inadmissible, the Athenians acknowledging or
worshipping no Hercules prior to the son of Alcmene, who was
contemporaneous with Theseus, and consequently posterior also to
Minerva. Now the mythology of Cephalus is not only in unison with
Pausanias, but the admission of that person would in no degree affect
the harmony of the Attic types, or principles of Athenian worship.
Cephalus was as celebrated for heroic virtues as for his beauty."

The fragment numbered 91 is part of a figure of Hyperion rising out of
the sea. It marked that angle of the pediment to the left of the
spectator, and the arms are stretched forward urging his coursers.
Near him are, alas, only the heads of two of his horses (92). The next
group that presents itself for notice is that of two sitting figures
(94), the one to the left leaning on the right shoulder of the other.
This is a wreck of a group that represented Ceres and her daughter
Proserpine on the pediment. Next in succession is a figure full of
action (95): this is Iris, the messenger of the gods, but the
particular property of Juno, on her way to carry to remote parts the
interesting intelligence of the birth of Minerva. A torso of Victory
is placed next in order of succession (96). The figure is now
wingless, but holes can be seen which once attached them to the
statue. Three Fates, beautifully draped (97), and a head of one of the
horses (98) of the chariot of Night which occupied the angle of the
pediment on the spectator's right, complete the recovered fragments of
the eastern pediment.

Hence the visitor should turn to the fragments from the


The subject illustrated on the western pediment was the contest
between Minerva and Neptune for the honour of giving a name to Athens.
The relics of these sculptures will now engage the visitor's
attention. Undoubtedly the first object that will attract his notice
will be that numbered 99. This recumbent figure has a noble presence
even now, headless and otherwise mutilated as it is. Canova stood
undecided between this figure and that of Theseus (or Cephalus,
according to Mr. Westmacott) as to which was pre-eminently beautiful.
The figure before which the visitor now stands is generally received
as the statue of Ilissus, who was the Athenian god of the river
Ilissus, which watered the southern side of the Athenian plain. Others
have declared it to be Theseus reposing after his herculean labours,
and contemplating the contest between the two deities. Having fully
examined this fine sculpture, the visitor should turn to the fragments
of the Minerva. A small fragment of the upper part of a face (101) is
all that remains of Minerva's head, the holes being still visible by
which the goddess's bronze helmet was fastened to the statue.
Hereabouts, also, is a fragment of the statue (102), and a coil of the
serpent that was about the figure (104). The torso marked 100, from
the western pediment, is conjectured to be part of a statue that
represented Cecrops, the founder of Athens, at the contest. The next
fragment is the torso of Neptune (103); and hereabouts is the cast of
the group supposed to have originally represented Hercules and Hebe.
The second object, marked 104, is the cast, presented by M. Charles
Lenormand, of a head in the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris, supposed
to belong to one of the statues of the western pediment. A torso of a
wingless or Athenian Victory is the next object that demands notice
(105): the figure was represented without wings, in token of the
inseparability of the goddess from the Greek capital. Another object
is marked 105: this is the head of the Victory; or rather a cast from
the original head presented to the trustees by Count de Laborde.
Lastly, of the western pediment sculptures, the visitor will remark
the lap of a figure, with a portion of an infant remaining: this ruin
is all that is left of Latona and her two children, Diana and Apollo.
Having fully examined these ruins of the Parthenon, the visitor must
direct his immediate attention to the remains collected from the ruins
of the celebrated


The temple of the Erectheum was situated at Athens, less than two
hundred feet distant from the Parthenon. It was the temple of Athene
Polias, or Minerva and Erectheus; and adjoining it was the chapel of
Pandrosus. Philocles of Acharnae was the architect of the building,
which Lord Aberdeen, reiterating the opinion of many great
authorities, in his "Inquiry into the Principles of Beauty in Grecian
Architecture," styles the most perfect known specimen of the Ionic
order of architecture. It was built on the spot where Neptune and
Minerva are supposed to have contested the honour of naming Athens.
When Lord Elgin visited Athens, the vestibule of the temple was a
Turkish powder magazine.

Before examining the few relics from this fine building in the saloon,
the visitor should notice the second object, marked 106, which is the
cast of a head found during the progress of excavations at Athens,
between the ancient gate of the Peloponnesus and the temple of
Theseus. Having passed from this relic, the visitor will at once
examine the architectural relics of different parts of the Erectheum,
which are more interesting to the architectural student than to the
general visitor. The fragment 109 is the lower portion of a draped
female statue; the relic marked 110 is part of the shaft of an Ionic
column; the capital of a column, 125, is very beautiful: but the
object that will be most attractive to the general visitor is the
statue marked 128, known in architecture as a Caryatid, which was used
in the temple of Pandrosus instead of columns. Hereabouts also, amid
the miscellaneous fragments, the visitor should notice a colossal
headless and heavily-draped figure, marked 111. This is the wreck of
the great statue of Bacchus which surmounted a monument erected three
hundred and twenty years before the Christian era, by Thrasyllus of
Deceleia, to record the victory of a tribe at a great festival of
Bacchus. This statue has been variously christened. Some believe it to
be the fragment of a Niobe; others of a Diana. It is generally allowed
to be a noble sample of Greek sculpture. Hereabouts, also, is the
well-known imperfect statue of Icarus (113), brought in fragments from
the Acropolis. The urn marked 122 is a sepulchral vessel, with figures
in bas-relief; 123 is a sepulchral column, with an Athenian name upon
it; and then the visitor will pass rapidly the fragments of Doric and
Ionic columns from various Greek temples. With the casts beginning
from 136, the visitor will start with his examination of the fragments
from the


When the ashes of Theseus, long after his death, were conveyed in
state to Athens, festivals were instituted in his honour; and a
magnificent temple was erected to his memory nearly five centuries
before our era. The sculptures of the temple represented the exploits
of Theseus, and of Hercules, with whom Theseus was always on terms of
great friendship, and to whom he gave the highest honours his country
could afford. The subject of the frieze (which the visitor will find
against the eastern wall of the saloon, numbered from 136 to 149), has
been variously explained, but is shrewdly conjectured to be the Battle
of the Giants, in which Hercules played a prominent part, and in which
the giants are said to have hurled rocks at their adversaries, like
pebbles. This battle was fought in the presence of divinities, who are
represented seated upon slabs (137-8-133-4.) This frieze was on the
most conspicuous part of the temple. The frieze that flanked the
building was sculptured with the exploits of Theseus; and here the
visitor will once more see the battle of the Centaurs and the Lapithae
illustrated (150-154). The Centaurs hurling huge stones, and wielding
the stems of trees; and the invulnerable Coeneus, half crushed by his
savage enemies, are again represented. The casts of three metopes
(155-157) are from the north side of the temple of Theseus. Upon the
first the hero is represented destroying the King of Thebes, Creon;
upon the second he is throwing Cercyon, King of Eleusis; and upon the
third he is overcoming the Crommyonian sow. "About this time,"
Plutarch tells us, "Crommyon was infested with a wild sow named Phoeä,
a fierce and formidable creature. This savage he attacked and killed,
going out of his way to engage her, and thus displaying an act of
voluntary valour: for he believed it equally became a brave man to
stand upon his defence against abandoned ruffians, and to seek out and
begin the combat with strong and savage animals. But some say that
Phoeä was an abandoned female robber, who dwelt in Crommyon; that she
had the name of 'sow' from her life and manners, and was afterwards
slain by Theseus."

A series of bas-reliefs from an Ionic temple, dedicated to the
Wingless Victory of Athens, are the next objects that command the
general visitor's attention. They are numbered from 158 to 161
successively. Upon these are represented battles between the Greeks
and Persians; and maidens leading a sacrificial bull. The fragments
marked successively from 165 to 175 are remarkable for the Greek
inscriptions on them, which cannot interest the general visitor. Let
the visitor, therefore, next pause before the fragment of a frieze in
green stone, marked 177, which is from the tomb of Agamemnon at
Mycenae. The sculptured scroll-work is of very remote antiquity. The
next fragment is a bas-relief, on which a bearded man is represented,
pressing a child towards him, and directing its attention to a votive
foot which he holds in his hand. Passing from this, the visitor may
next direct his attention to the fragment of a colossal statue
numbered 178. It belongs to one of the pediments of the Parthenon.
Hereabouts are various sepulchral urns and columns of no particular
interest to the casual observer;--the circular altar from Delos,
ornamented in relief with sacrificial bulls and other subjects. 179
may, however, be noticed, together with the column marked 183, which
bears the name of Socrates, son of Socrates, a native of Ancyra, of
Galatia. The object marked 186 is a Greek sun-dial found at Athens, of
a time not long before the reign of the Emperor Severus. Passing other
altars and fragments of columns, the visitor should pause on his way,
to notice a bas-relief upon which Latona and Diana are sculptured,
forming part of a procession (190). The bas-relief numbered 193 is
from the theatre of Bacchus: it is a Bacchanalian group, in which
Bacchus is holding forth a vessel to be filled by an attending
Bacchante. The next object to be noticed is marked 194, and is a
fragment of a head of the goddess Pasht, surmounted with a crown of
serpents. A spirited scene occurs upon bas-relief 197, where a
charioteer, heralded by a flying Victory, is represented driving four
horses at full speed. A series of urns and votive altars are grouped
hereabouts, which the casual visitor may pass, pausing before the
small statue of Ganymede (207); a fragment of a boy supporting a bird
on his arm (221); a small figure of Telesphorus, headless, and draped;
more sepulchral urns and stêles; capitals of Corinthian and Ionic
columns; various inscriptions, including a decree of a society of
musicians (235); an amphora (238); a female head; a large and small
head of a bearded Hercules (243-242); heads and fragments of heads;
the base of a statue supposed to have been that of the Minerva of the
western pediment of the Parthenon; urns and columns, and stales and
inscriptions; a bas-relief showing Health, the daughter of
AEsculapius, feeding a serpent; two more bas-reliefs; an inventory of
the articles of gold and silver belonging to the Parthenon (282);
stêles, inscriptions, and columns; fragments of colossal statues, a
small statue (headless) of a Muse, 316; fragments of figures from the
metopes of the Parthenon; a sculptured oblong vessel, found near the
plain of Troy, for containing holy water (324); a mutilated colossal
head supposed to represent Nemesis, found in the temple of Nemesis, at
Rhamnus (325); a mutilated female statue found also at Rhamnus, in the
temple of Themis; fragments of colossal statues, stêles, inscriptions,
and altars. And hereabouts the visitor should pause once more to
examine a consecutive series of sculptures. These are marked from 352
to 360. They are casts from the monument of Lysicrates, erected to
celebrate a musical contest about three centuries and a half before
our era. This monument is commonly known as the


This name is derived from a story long current, that the monument was
built by Demosthenes as a place of retirement. It was in reality a
monument erected in honour of Lysicrates, and the musicians or actors
who carried off the palm in musical or dramatic entertainments. This
monument is interesting as being the oldest existing specimen of the
Corinthian order of architecture. The frieze, of which there are
specimens before the visitor, represents the story of the revenge
Bacchus indulged in towards some Tyrrhenian corsairs, who endeavoured
to convey him to Asia to sell him as a slave. It is related that
discovering their infamous project, he transformed the masts and oars
of the vessel into snakes. The frieze is divided into nine
compartments, and the central figure is Bacchus seated with his
panther before him, a vessel in his hand, and attendant fauns. The
fantastic punishment of the pirates is forcibly depicted. Here one
bound to a rock finds the cord changed into a powerful serpent; there
men leaping into the sea are already half changed to dolphins; and
others are receiving severe castigation. Having examined these curious
sculptures, the visitor may rapidly review the rest of the relics
which he will care to examine. Passing the inscriptions (all
interesting to the antiquarian), the votive altars, and other
fragments, he may halt here and there before various interesting
bas-reliefs. Among these are a bas-relief representing Vesta and
Minerva crowning a young man (375); a bas-relief of Jupiter and Juno;
a bas-relief representing a sacrifice before an altar (380); an
imperfect bas-relief representing three goddesses (383); a lion's head
from the roof of the Parthenon (393); a fragment from Mantell's
collection, of a female figure found on the plains of Marathon (397);
the upper part of a female figure, in bas-relief, from Athens (419);
two women and a child making offerings found in Laconia (430); another
bas-relief from Laconia (431); a curious subject in bas-relief from
Athens, representing the upper part of a youth holding something,
supposed to be a lantern, with a boy near him, and a cat on a column
(432); a cast from a tablet representing in bas-relief Pan seated on a
rock with a draped nymph, supposed to be Echo, before him (433); a
cast of the tablet of Euthydia, daughter of Diogenes, who is taking
leave of friends (435); and lastly, a bas-relief representing the
shape of a shield, on which the names of the _ephebi_ of Athens, under
Alcamenes, are inscribed. This is said to have belonged originally to
the Parthenon. And here the visitor will close his inspection of the
Elgin Saloon. That he will return to these fine relics of the old
Greeks, if he have the opportunity, is certain. He may come again and
again, and each time gain something in the contemplation of these
classical models; noble thoughts before the masterly figure of
Theseus, a keen sense of beauty near the beautiful forms of the
Parthenon frieze. Of all the glorious monuments of antiquity that have
reached us of the proud nineteenth century, none have so noble a
significance as the broken marbles collected in this room. The
contemplative man, seeing their perfect beauties, asks himself in
their presence many puzzling questions. But perhaps the first that
rises in the mind is wonder at the contrast between the development of
art and the poorness of science in this splendid antiquity. No steam
then to wield the hammer; only the most limited knowledge of the
earth: the west an indescribable region of harmony and glory; the
world a flat surface; fearful mariners hugging the shore close at
home, and trusting to the stars; and England a savage place where
wolves rent the air at night; and a heathen mythology the faith of the
most civilised people of the earth. Under these barbarous
circumstances, the poetry that dwells in the heart of all people who
cultivate some affinity to nature, fashioned the mould of a Phidias
for the people of Athens. A man with a stern soul, an eye large and
grand, a frame built to realise the soul's tasks--we see this Phidias
of the Greeks as he hovered about the foundations of the Parthenon,
when the name of Pericles was every Greek's watchword, four centuries
and a half before our Christian era. The man appears to have been of
colossal parts in every way. Versed in history, a poet given to study
fables (as all poets are), keen in sifting the subtleties of geometry,
a passionate reader of Homer; this was indeed the sculptor of the
gods! Of the high estimation in which the sculptures of the Parthenon
should be held, it is superfluous to say more than all writers on art
have agreed in saying. Here we have master-pieces, beyond which the
sculptors of the many ages that have passed away since Phidias
laboured at his Jupiter in the Olympian grove have never reached. High
praise this to say of a man who has been twenty-two centuries in his
grave, that he accomplished in the utmost perfection those ideals to
which his imitators have vainly aspired. It appears that Phidias had
his troubles, knew the force of a frown from men in power, and in
exile produced his master-piece. Whether he died in disgrace and by
foul means are points upon which the dust of ages has settled for
ever. We know thus much of him and no more. But the visitor who has
probably been more impressed with the contents of the Elgin Saloon
than with the massive coarseness of the Egyptian antiquities, will be
glad to hear a few general words--an authoritative summing up of the
matter from a pen more clearly authorised to touch the subject than
ours can be. A brief summary, a terse description, analytical and
picturesque, of a field of speculation or a region of wonder,
systematises the spectator's impression, and with the view of
fastening the proper contemplation of these master-pieces upon the
visitor's mind, we quote a few pointed sentences on the sculptures of
the Elgin Saloon, from the pen of Sir Henry Ellis.

"These marbles, chiefly ornamental, belong to one edifice dedicated to
the guardian deity of the city, raised at the time of the greatest
political power of the state, when all the arts which contribute to
humanise life were developing their beneficial influence. Many of the
writers of Athens, whose works are the daily textbooks of our schools,
saw in their original perfection the mutilated marbles which we still
cherish and admire. The Elgin collection has presented us with the
external and material forms, in which the art of Phidias gave life and
reality to the beautiful mythi which veiled the origin of his native
city, and perpetuated in groups of matchless simplicity the ceremonies
of the great national festival. The lover of beauty and the friend of
Grecian learning will here find a living comment on what he reads; and
as in the best and severest models of antiquity we always discover
something new to admire, so here we find fresh beauties at every
visit, and learn how infinite in variety are simplicity and truth, and
how every deviation from these principles produces sameness and
satiety. It is but just that those who feel the value of this
collection should pay a tribute of thanks to the nobleman to whose
exertions the nation is indebted for it; and the more so as he was
made the object of vulgar abuse by many pretended admirers of ancient
learning. If Lord Elgin had not removed these marbles, there is no
doubt that many of them would long since have been totally destroyed;
and it was only after great hesitation, and a certain knowledge that
they were daily suffering more and more from brutal ignorance and
barbarism, that he could prevail on himself to employ the power he had
obtained to remove them to England. These marbles may be considered in
two ways; first, as mere specimens of sculpture; and secondly, as
forming part of the history of a people. As specimens of sculpture
they serve as excellent studies to young artists, whose taste is
formed and chastened by the simplicity and truth of the models
presented to them. The advantage of studying the ancients in this
department of art rests pretty nearly on the same grounds as those
which may be given for our study of their written models. Modern times
produce excellence in every department of human industry, and our
knowledge of nature, the result of continued accumulations, needs not
now the limited experience of former ages. The sciences founded on
demonstration, though they may trace their origin to the writings of
the Greeks, have advanced to a state in which nothing would be gained
by constantly recurring to the ancient condition of knowledge. But it
is not so with those arts which belong to the province of design; they
require a different discipline, and the faculties which they employ
may have received a more complete development two thousand years ago,
under favourable circumstances, than they have now. Their perfection
depends on circumstances over which we have little control: they
cannot, in our opinion, ever become essentially popular in any country
but one where the climate favours an out-of-door life, and where they
are intimately blended in the service of religion. If then a nation
has existed whose physical organisation, whose climate, and whose
religion all combined to develop the principles of beauty, and taught
man to choose from nature those forms and combinations which give the
highest and most lasting pleasure, we of the present day who do not
possess these advantages must follow those who were the first true
interpreters of nature. Their models possess the advantage of being
fixed; for without some standard universally admitted, we should run
into all the extravagances of conceit and affectation.

"No work of the present time is ever universally admitted as an
indisputable standard. It is only when time has placed an interval
between the present and the past, wide enough to destroy all the
rivalries of competition; that great works receive the full
acknowledgments of their merits, and become standards to which we all
appeal. Thus in the art of writing our own language, we refer to the
best models of past instead of to the works of our own days; and our
youth at school are chiefly trained on the written models of Greece
and Home, instead of those of our own country. The advantage of this
consists in having before us examples which all appeal to, not because
we contend that they are in all respects the best, but because they
were the best of their day, and being written in a language no longer
subject to change, may be taken as an universal standard by which all
civilised nations may measure their thoughts and the mode of
expressing them. The frieze of the Parthenon and the dramas of
Sophocles, the forms of the marble and the conceptions of the great
poet, still speak to our imagination and our understanding: we
recognise, in both, the beauty of proportion, the simplicity and truth
of design; and we all assent to a standard which we feel to be in
harmony with nature, and to which all nations will yield a more ready
obedience than to any other that we can name.

"Though the artist and the student may examine the sculptures of the
Parthenon with somewhat different views, their studies are more nearly
allied than is generally supposed. The artist who looks at them merely
as delineations of form, without reference to the ideas which gave
them their existence, loses half the pleasure and the profit; and the
student who merely names and catalogues them, without connecting them
with the written monuments of Grecian genius, that is with the
illustration of ancient texts, is also pursuing a barren study."

And now the visitor's way lies through the sculpture galleries, back
to the grand entrance. He has accomplished the labour of examining all
that is exhibited to the public generally of the contents of the
national museum. He may wander into the eastern wing of the building
(if it be open to the general visitor), and through the northern,
where the vast library of printed books and manuscripts are deposited;
but these are only accessible to the public under special regulations.
This remark is applicable also to the print-room.

The visitor, however, cannot leave the British Museum, having wandered
over it and examined its various curiosities, without getting
something from his journey. It is full of suggestive matter, which,
with a little direction, may be turned to useful account by large
classes of the people. It affords glimpses into the mysteries of the
Animal Kingdom, with all its varieties, its wonders, its traceable
progresses, its past and extinct forms, its promises of future
developments. Then the mineralogical galleries afford the general
visitor a peep at the formations of the earth; the various
developments of minerals; the natural state of ores and stones which
most men see only in their manufactured state. From the mineralogical
tables the visitor stepped aside to examine the wondrous revelations
of extinct animal life recovered from the bowels of the earth; he saw
the colossal megatherium, the towering mastodon, and the great Irish
elk. He understood something of the progress of animal life, from the
fishes and the saurians. Then he passed into the Egyptian room, and
found himself surrounded with the preserved bodies of the ancient
Egyptians; he examined their household gods; he pried into their
coffins; he saw their food; he was familiarised with their apparel.
Still proceeding onward, he came to the beautiful bronzes; and then he
saw the wonders that the ancient tombs of Etruria disgorged. He still
advanced in the galleries, till he came to a room that was a little
museum in itself--an exhibition of the curious industries of many
different countries. Here were Buddhist temples; Chinese chopsticks;
marvels from savage islands; a tortoise-shell bonnet; a Chinese
bell;--in short, a room packed from the ceiling to the floor with a
compact mass of curiosities. And then he left the upper floor of the
building, after having spent two days there, through two towering
cameleopards. He came a third time, and at once passing many things
that tempted him by the way, he passed on into the great and wonderful
Egyptian Saloon. Here he lingered for hours over ancient Egyptian
tombstones; before colossal sarcophagi; thinking of the tough work
Belzoni must have had of it with the young Memnon; endeavouring to
realise the approach to the ancient Egyptian temples through rows of
colossal and majestic sphinxes. Next he passed on to the ruins of
Nineveh, and its mystic mounds. Here he was with Layard for a time,
dreaming of the ancient Assyrians and their winged bulls. Hence he
passed into the Lycian room, and saw something of the strange remains
of the Xanthus of old; and then, probably, he went home to dream of
these great marvels of the times gone by. But he came again; and this
time hovered throughout the day amid the ruins of the arts of ancient
Greece. And now he has examined these; and he may leave the national
museum, assured that he has some useful knowledge of the curiosities
which scientific men have gathered from the remote parts of the world,
for the benefit of the learned resident in England.

The tens of thousands who flock to the museum in holiday times prove
its attractions; and it is with the hope that these attractions may be
enhanced by the help of a methodical and homely guide, chattering to
the visitor various bits and scraps of pertinent information as he
passes from one object to another, that these four visits have been
presented to the public. They do not pretend to be scientific books,
but simply companions of the hour, that urge little points of
information while the mind is particularly impressible; and showing
the kind of interest that attaches to objects which, for the want of a
timely word, the visitor would have passed unnoticed.

Many objects which are curiosities to the scientific man, but which
could not in any way interest the casual visitor, have been passed by
without hesitation.

Our main object has been to give the visitor clear impressions of the
different departments or classes into which the national collection
naturally divides itself, by guiding his eye consecutively to those
objects which bear relation to each other. It was necessary, to make
ourselves attractive as guides, to eschew all learned and stiff
formalities; to class matters easily as we found them; and to sustain
the visitor's interest throughout his four journeys. The monotony of a
formal catalogue is repulsive to visitors chiefly bent upon enjoying a
few hours amusement; therefore we chose to direct the eye to objects,
and at once to interest the visitor in them, by shortly explaining
their points of interest. The success which this endeavour met
elsewhere has encouraged us to perform the present task; and we hope
shortly to be at the elbow of visitors to other interesting buildings
and exhibitions.

The popularity of the British Museum may be shown by quoting the last
return of the number of visitors, &c., presented to the House of
Commons. This return proves that, while the public interest in the
collection is on the increase, that the guardians of the different
departments look out eagerly for new curiosities:--"The number of
readers--or rather of visits made by readers, in 1850, was
78,533:--or, an average of some 268 per diem:--the Reading Rooms
having been kept open 291 days. The number of books returned to the
shelves of the General Library from the Reading Rooms was 119,093; to
those of the Royal Library, 11,252; to those of the Grenville Library,
387: to the closets in which the books are kept from day to day for
the use of the readers, 110,950:--making a total of 241,682, or 830
per diem. The number of volumes added to the Library amounts to 16,208
(including music, maps, and newspapers); of which 837 were presented,
11,793 purchased, and 3575 received by copyright. The Keeper of the
MSS. has been busy cleaning, cataloguing, and stamping. Eleven of the
valuable Cottonian MSS. on vellum (including the Chronicle of Roger de
Wendover, supposed to have been utterly destroyed), and two Old Royal
as well as five Cottonian on paper, all injured in the fire of 1731,
have been carefully repaired, inlaid, and rebound. The purchases
include a Psalter of the tenth century, formerly belonging to the
monastery of Stavelot, in the diocese of Liége,--'a remarkably fine
Greek MS.' containing the works ascribed to Dionysius the
Areopagite,--and the Homilies of Gregory of Nazianzum, 'with scholia
written in the year 6480 (A.D. 972);'--together with nineteen
additional volumes of a series of transcripts from the Archives at the
Hague, of documents relating to English history, extending from 1588
to 1614 and from 1689 to 1702.--In the 'Department of Natural
History,' we find that great progress has been made in the arrangement
of the contents of Room No. VI.,--its wall cases having been entirely
filled with the gigantic Osseous Remains of Edentata and Pachydermata,
and that the Central Room of the Northern Zoological Gallery has been
devoted to a collection of the Beasts, Birds, Fish, Reptiles, Shells,
Sea Eggs, Starfish, and Corals found in the British Islands. The
purchases include 'a silver decadrachm of Alexander the Great,' from
the collection of Colonel Rawlinson,--the first ever discovered,--'and
two very rare British _gold_ coins, having on them the name TIN.'"



[1: Undoubtedly the finest coral is dredged from the Mediterranean; it
is an important article of commerce at Marseilles.]

[2: "The shrikes, or butcher-birds (_laniadae_), are a numerous and
widely-diffused assemblage, living upon the smaller birds and insects;
the former of which the shrike sticks, when killed, upon thorns, as a
butcher hangs up meat in his stall; hence the name of the
genus."--_Vestiges of Creation_.]

[3: Vestiges of Creation.]

[4: These birds build in the crevices of precipitous rocks, and tho
female lines the nest with the down plucked from her breast. From
these nests natives rob the down and sell it.]

[5: Vestiges of Creation.]

[6: "Oxides are neutral compounds, containing oxygen in equivalent
proportions."--_Dr. Ure_.]

[7: Sesquicarbonate of soda that is found in the west of the Delta. In
Mexico there are several natron lakes.]

[8: The cuneiform character, which was used in every part of Asia
Minor, up to the time of Alexander the Great, consists of a series of
wedges or accents variously combined, as, [Cuneiform: *** **]].

[9: A Metope may be described as the intermediate space in a Doric
frieze, between two triglyphs, or separating grooves.]

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "How to See the British Museum in Four Visits" ***

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