William Thyssen-Amherst

1835 – 1909

The main financial sponsor for Flinders Petrie's 1891-1892 excavation season at Amarna. He was an MP who was ennobled as Baron Amherst of Hackney the same year as the Amarna expedition. Amherst persuaded Petrie to mentor a teenage Howard Carter that season.

British collector and patron of excavation in Egypt; he was born at Narford Hall, Norfolk, 25 April 1835, eldest son of William George Daniel Tyssen and Mary Fountaine; he was educated at Eton and at Christ Church, Oxford; MP 1880-5; he was created Baron, 1892; a keen collector, notably of incunabula and Egyptian antiquities, and his museum at Didlington Hall, Norfolk, was one of the most notable private collections; he purchased the entire collections of the Revd R. T. Lieder in 1861, and of Dr. John Lee in1865; he also made frequent additions when in Egypt, and from the excavations he supported, including those of Petrie and Lady William Cecil; Howard Carter began his career in archaeology through his help; numerous purchases were also made for him by P. E. Newberry; he financed the publication of volumes on the Egyptian, Coptic, and Greek papyri and the Cuneiform tablets in his collection; the papyri were acquired by the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, in 1913; the rest of the collection (965 lots) sold at Sotheby’s, 13-17 June 1921, fetching £14,533; he died in 23 Queen’s Gate Gardens, London, 16 Jan. 1909.