Arthur Weigall

1880 - 1934

British Egyptologist and author; born St Helier, Jersey, 20 Nov. 1880, son of Major Arthur Archibald Denny W. and Alice Cowan; he was educated at Hillside School, Malvern, and Wellington College; he entered New College, Oxford, 1900, but left after a short residence to become assistant to Flinders Petrie on the staff of the EEF, 1901; he married twice, first Hortense Schleiter of Chicago, second Muriel Frances Lillie of Hillsborough, Co. Down; he was Inspector- General of Antiquities for the Egyptian Government, 1905-14; he was closely associated with excavations in the Theban Necropolis carried out by Sir Robert Mond, and also with those of Theodore Davis in the Valley of Kings; he was an efficient and energetic official and for the first time probably since Pharaonic times the tombs and temples of Western Thebes became well ordered and properly conserved; he initiated the numbering of the Tombs of the Nobles now in general use, and assisted in their opening up and restoration; with A. H. Gardiner he produced the Topographical Catalogue of the Private Tombs of Thebes later supplemented by Engelbach; his later popular works are better known but were often written in haste; his later life was that of a writer and journalist, and a scene designer, and shows a very individualistic stamp; for his archaeological work Weigall was awarded the Cross 4th Class Red Eagle, Germany, Officer’s Cross of Franz Joseph, Austria, 3rd Class Medjidieh, Egypt; he published many works serious and popular, see Abydos I, in part, 1902; Abydos III, 1904; A Report on the Antiquities of Lower Nubia, 1907; A Catalogue of the Weights and Balances in the Cairo Museum, 1908; Travels in the Upper Egyptian Deserts, 1909; A Guide to the Antiquities of Upper Egypt, 1910, like Baikie’s a very useful book for the tourist; The Life of Akhenaten, Pharaoh of Egypt, 1910, rev. 1922; The Treasury of Ancient Egypt, 1911; A Topographical Catalogue of the Tombs of Thebes, with A. H. Gardiner, 1913; The Life of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, 1914, rev. 1924; Egypt from 1798 to 1914, 1915; The Glory of the Pharaohs, 1923; Tutankhamen and other Essays, 1923; Ancient Egyptian Works of Art, 1924; A History of the Pharaohs, vol.i, 1925, vol. ii, 1926, never completed, a work of great originality and very well written, but marred by the author’s individual approach to certain philological and historical matters, and displaying considerable arrogance towards other contemporary Egyptologists; at this stage of his career Weigall’s writing became more general with works such as Flights into Antiquity, 1928, Sappho, 1932, and Laura Was My Camel, 1933; but he produced a final Egyptological book A Short History of Ancient Egypt, 1934; he died in London, 2 Jan. 1934.

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