Egyptian rooms in the Louvre during 19th century
Shortly before the opening of the exhibition “L’aventure Champollion. Dans le secret des hiéroglyphes” at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, let’s take a look back at the history of the Egyptian section of the Louvre Museum.1
The initial rooms: the Egyptian section of the Charles X Museum (1826)
In the Louvre, a room called the “Isis Room” housed already in 18182 the still indecipherable Egyptian pieces in the royal collections. In 18263, after their growth through the acquisition of important collections, they were instituted into a “second division of the antiques of the royal museum”, to which was allocated the eastern half of the south wing of the Cour Carrée, to be organised and presented within the “Charles X Museum”. Their curator, Champollion, had also been given three rooms on the ground floor of this wing, but did not have the time to fit them out.4
The creation of these rooms was an unprecedented opportunity: Champollion had not yet set foot on Egyptian soil, but had been immersed for years in ancient texts and in contact with European collections; no one better than he was able to organise a museum that would illustrate the new Egyptian science. For him, it was a question of exhibiting a whole rediscovered civilisation.
The Notice descriptive he wrote for the inauguration is revealing in this regard; it contrasts his project with the usual presentation of museum exhibits that highlight the development of the arts. “It will be a real Egyptian encyclopaedia by order of subjects, religion, government, customs and habits, costumes, etc. Everything will pass successively before the eyes of the visitor, and each object placed in relation to those of the same class, will take on a new interest.”5
The introduction to the Notice also announces the organisation of the collections according to the subject or destination of the monuments. The tour included four rooms, which grouped the objects by theme, according to the three categories defined by Champollion: the two Funerary Rooms are self-explanatory; the Gods Room formed a kind of pantheon gathering the statues of deities organised in series, and the Civil Room grouped the monuments of private individuals and kings that had no funerary destination, with the royal monuments in chronological order.6 The aim was clearly to build up epigraphic and iconographic reference series, at a time when Egyptian chronology was still very hesitant. Champollion justifies this classification by the study of the inscriptions present on most of the monuments.7 This undertaking was intended both as a working tool for scholars and as a demonstration of the progress of science, by materially illustrating the religious system8 and royal chronology reconstructed by Champollion’s research.
Despite Champollion’s intention of rational organisation, his museum remained constrained by the premises; the two funerary rooms displayed homogeneous collections (they were not distinguished in the Notice), but separated by another thematic room, the Civil Room, probably because this one was too small to accommodate the content of one of the two funerary rooms while favoring their continuity. The triple divine/civil/funerary system had in fact been conceived by Champollion as early as 1824 during his trip to Turin9, which explains its relative unsuitability for the Louvre’s collections and premises.
No representation of the rooms at this time is known10, while the Notice descriptive written to accompany the visitor is more of a catalogue than a guide; it provides an explanatory discourse (very brief, however, mostly reduced to a designation, materials and dimensions – but at least offers the identification of the figures) and no clues to the actual layout of the rooms; it was referred to by means of the catalogue numbers that were displayed near the objects. The book is organised by thematic categories, then by material typology. It does not therefore follow the path that Champollion sought, and although we can find the scientific content that he wanted to convey, its organisation in the rooms is no longer accessible to us.
However, we are aware of some elements conveying informations to the visitors in the cases: as we have seen, labels indicated the numbers of the notices near the objects, which were themselves mounted on bases of different stones according to their category11. As for the decoration of the rooms, it is well known that Champollion ardently wished to avoid the classical vocabulary and demanded without success an Egyptian decoration12. It remains highly conjectural to imagine what Champollion could have imagined at the time13, being still only familiar with Egyptian architecture from books. Was it a desire to produce a completely exotic experience, of almost total immersion in the visual world of ancient Egypt? Or was it a desire to further distinguish “his” museum from its predecessors and neighbours, to affirm the originality of his project? These two possibilities are not mutually exclusive.
The desire for an encyclopaedic presentation and the highlighting of the foundations of the new Egyptian science were therefore the essential principles of this first Egyptian museum in the Louvre.
The 1850s: historic rooms
These galleries were changed several times during the century; as science evolved, as collections grew, as opportunities for spatial expansion arose and as staff became available, each new generation was keen to improve the existing organisation despite the practical constraints.
After the inauguration of the Charles X Museum, Champollion and his deputy Dubois were occupied with the classification and cataloguing of objects not on display, and do not appear to have made any major changes to the Egyptian Museum’s layout. After Champollion’s death, the Egyptian division was run on an interim basis and did not have a permanent curator until the appointment of Camille Duteil in 1848. Duteil had very personal theories and a mystical perception of Egyptian civilisation. Devoting himself to work on the volumetry and magnetism of the collections in his care, he also proposed to display stuffed animals near inscriptions containing animal hieroglyphs, in order to expose their conventions.14
However, Duteil soon left his post15 and was replaced by Emmanuel de Rougé16, who is remembered as a more solid scholar and denounced most of the initiatives of his predecessor17. The major project of these years was the fitting out of the large Henri IV gallery, on the ground floor of the Colonnade wing, which had been assigned to the Egyptian Museum in 1848 by the new curator of antiques, Adrien de Longpérier18 ; its installation lasted at least until the summer of 184919 to open in Fall: “The monuments and statues are arranged in four rows and grouped in order of date, so that the public can easily, after a simple inspection, realize the progress and the history of this art, following it in its rebirth and finally witnessing its complete decadence and death.”20 The discourse established by Champollion on Egyptian culture was thus coupled with a chronological approach that illustrated the material evolution of the ancient remains, here on the scale of a room that embraced the whole of Egyptian history.
In 185022, the vestibule of the south staircase was fitted out; it was soon used to display the rich collections sent by Auguste Mariette from the Serapium between 1852 and 1854 and was called the “Apis room”.23 Many of these monuments dated back to the Old Kingdom; in 1855, Rougé’s Notice sommaire24 presents this room as the room of the first dynasties: a particular space was then devoted to a specific part of the chronology. It was indeed with the gradual growth of the collections and the progress in knowledge of Egyptian history that it became possible to conceive a chronological circuit, with such spaces devoted to particular historical periods. The scholarly discourse of contextualising the pieces was also always present, and large labels appear on each of the images that document the state of these rooms. The Charles X enfilade was also enriched before 1853, but without changing the attributions of each room, except by adding new showcases that had great influence later25.
The Egyptian Museum also took advantage of substitutes to display representative collections of ancient Egypt: the casting of the Denderah zodiac is attested in the rooms as soon as 184926, while large facsimiles of the tomb of Ramses I were displayed in the south staircase27.
Thereafter, the rooms of the Louvre changed little between 1853 and the end of the century, except for the annexation in 1864 of a new space, at the end of the enfilade of the Charles X Museum, in the Pavillon des Arts, the Columns Hall28. The department’s scientific team, who were short-staffed and busy with their research, the pursuit of acquisitions for the museum and the regular publication of up-to-date catalogues, were not in a position to revise the rooms.
The years 1890-1900: Bénédite reorganises the rooms
In the 1890s, the situation changed; within nine years, all the rooms in the department would be reorganised.
The curator of the department, Paul Pierret, asked his assistant Georges Bénédite to reorganise the Algiers gallery in 1896. The latter intended to take advantage of the opportunity to display objects from the storehouse, but also to remedy the density of the exhibition in the neighbouring Henri IV gallery: “Nowhere in our collections, which suffer more than any others from the cramped conditions of the premises, are the discomfort and the lack of space so visibly felt”29; he noted the shortcomings of the layout of the room30, which opened onto the perspective of the south staircase: “The visitor’s gaze, held back by this beautiful layout, is not drawn to the numerous small pieces that are squeezed either into the window openings or into the false bays of the opposite wall. Some of these objects do not even have the necessary space for explanatory labels in their vicinity.
It was also an opportunity for him to set out the challenges of exhibiting the department’s collections, as he saw them, claiming for his department the first place in a reasoned classification that would have set a precedent for other parts of the museum and beyond: “I will not, however, stop at this project. We have better things to do than simply place objects of very different ages and natures on pedestals, even though this placement would be sufficient in itself because of the order and beauty of the monuments. Our collections are not only art collections, they consist, for the most part, of historical and archaeological documents which can only be enhanced by classification. This method, which has always been a tradition here, has been adopted with great advantage by the art departments of the Louvre and by museums abroad.”31 He therefore proposed to organize a chronological room gathering the oldest statues: “By joining to this collection some statues of the same period, we will have created our Room of the Primitives containing the monuments of the period of the history of Egypt prior to the invasion of the Pastors.”32 Bénédite’s proposal approved by the director33, the room opened to the public in 189634. His work continued in 1898 with the fitting out of the last rooms on the ground floor, under the south staircase, where the oldest objects were displayed35.
The challenge was no longer, as it had been in Champollion’s time, to establish reference series that could serve as a foundation for a new science and lay down its fundamental structures. However, the museum remained a tool for archaeological illustration and scholarship: the desire to show the stylistic evolution of a single typology accompanied the refinement of science and the possibility of using style as a dating criterion; it was still a question of setting milestones in this Egyptian history in the process of being written, arranged according to their inscription or appearance.
Photographs taken by J. Chastin and sent to the museum, December 1908
Archives nationales, 20144775/22
Subsequently, Bénédite redesigned the old rooms of the Charles X Museum. The press compared the new exhibition in the following terms: “The system that has prevailed is that of the exhibition ‘by selection’, instead of the system of ‘Egyptological information’. According to the latter, each object was considered as the ‘support’, the proof of an archaeological demonstration.”36 As in almost every museum room description, the commentary notes the aesthetics of the presentation37, but it does not seem that this consideration was decisive; the four rooms were now devoted respectively to funerary furniture, to “industrial art”, to figurative monuments and finally to jewels and bronzes. The journalist’s analysis almost gives the impression that Champollion’s encyclopaedic ambitions had been abandoned in favour of an exhibition of remarkable pieces, freed from a cumbersome pedagogical apparatus. However, it is clear that the organisation of the rooms was henceforth governed by a typological logic: the collections are no longer mere illustrations of a scholarly discourse, but rather form the object of the discourse, which is organised around them.
In 1903, the Egyptian Museum acquired a choice element38, although it remained for some time disjointed from the rest of the department: it was a complete monument, the decorated chapel of the mastaba of Akhetep at Saqqara, dismantled and reassembled stone by stone in Paris. It was presented from 1905 onwards in the Sessions Pavilion, where all the contemporary bas-reliefs and statues from the ground floor rooms were moved39
In nine years, the department had been completely renovated and was now organised according to a chronological and typological logic, seeking to illustrate the material culture of ancient Egypt in the most complete way, whereas Champollion’s encyclopaedic design sought to cover intellectually the whole of Egyptian civilisation through thematic rooms.
In three quarters of a century, the situation of the Egyptian collections within the Louvre Museum had changed radically. From the outset, the collections had a dedicated structure, a division separated from the conservation of antiques, and occupied four rooms on the first floor of the Cour Carrée, with the major monuments housed in rooms on the ground floor, even if they could not be displayed to the public at that time. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Egyptian Museum of the Louvre had been erected as a department, run by several scholars, and had annexed the Henri IV room and the ground floor of the Pavillon des Sessions. The Louvre had become an emblematic museum of French Egyptology, both by the richness of its collections and by its association with the figures of Champollion, Rougé and Mariette.
The desire to develop a scientific discourse had led the organisation of the rooms from the outset. The original project was to present a civilisation, a world that had disappeared and was profoundly foreign to the Parisian public. Over the course of the century, this ambition had hardly changed; on the other hand, the means to achieve it had been developed, with the use of casts and reproductions, but also a new reflection on the composition of the rooms. Champollion’s thematic groupings were replaced by serial typologies based on materials and iconography. These changes do not seem to be the result of a deliberate system, but rather of the pragmatic management of the growth of the spaces and collections, according to the sensitivity of the person in charge at the time. The first spaces devoted to a particular period or site were thus linked to the product of the excavations of the Serapium by Auguste Mariette; apart from the advantage for the institution of highlighting the product of this famous discovery, this expansion obviously benefited from being presented as a homogeneous whole.
It is perhaps only in terms of the arrangement of objects within the rooms that a clear trend seems to be emerging, with rooms becoming increasingly uncluttered and a desire to favour the selection of particular pieces over the presentation of series which, however rich they were, drowned out their specimens in a whole that hindered the apprehension of the pieces in isolation. This tendency is common to the layout of all the departments, as well as the Fine Arts ones; it cannot therefore be considered as resulting from the development of aesthetic sensitivity towards Egyptian material culture–it is, however, undoubtedly a contributing factor.
Finally, the organisation of the department reversed the perspective: Champollion’s rooms used the collections as illustrations for his historical discourse; Bénédite’s, on the other hand, developed a commentary on Egyptian material culture and civilisation from the objects and their grouping.
This post was translated into English from the French original “Les salles égyptiennes du Louvre au XIXe siècle”, March 2022.
- This post, like the preceding one on the “Egyptian rooms in the Musée Guimet” (8 January 2022), is based on the paper “Exposer l’Égypte ancienne au Louvre et au musée Guimet au XIXe siècle” presented at the colloquium Arts & vestiges: contextualisation, exposition, scénographie (October 2019, INHA) and published in abbreviated form on Contextualités. Réflexions et regards hybrides in November 2020. I am grateful for the help I received in my research at the Louvre from Mmes Catherine Bridonneau and Elisabeth David (Department of Egyptian Antiquities) and Sophie Picot-Bocquillon (then in the History of the Louvre Service).
- Tanré-Szewczyk, Juliette, “Des antiquités égyptiennes au musée. Modèle, appropriation et consitution du champ de l’égyptologie dans la première moitié du XIXe siècle, à travers l’exemple croisé du Louvre et du British Museum”, Cahiers de l’École du Louvre 11, 2017, § 5.
- The creation of the second section of the conservation of antiques was accompanied by the appointment of Champollion as its head: order of 15 May 1826 (a copy is kept in the National Archives in O/3/1418).
- An exchange of letters between La Rochefoucault to Forbin and the Intendant des bâtiments de la Couronne (May to August 1827, Archives nationales, 20144775/2) mentions them, without pointing precisely them out; Guichard, Sylvie, “Le département des antiquités égyptiennes”, in Brec-Bautier, Geneviève & Lintz, Yannick (ed.), Histoire du Louvre, vol. 3, Louvre éditions, 2016, p. 80-84, p. 80. See also “Remontrance à Champollion: ‘Marchons toujours administrativement, je vous prie’”, 10 February 2019.
- Hartleben, Hermine (ed.), Lettres de Champollion le Jeune, vol. 1 Lettres écrites d’Italie (Bibliothèque égyptologique 30), Paris, Ernest Leroux, 1909, letter to Abbot Gazzera, from Paris, 1827, p. 420–421.
- “[…] It was absolutely mandatory to take into account both the subject of each monument and its special purpose, and that a rigorous knowledge of both would determine the place and rank that it should occupy. Finally, it was necessary to arrange them in such a way as to present, as completely as possible, the series of divinities, and that of the monuments which recall the names of the rulers of Egypt, from the primitive times to the Romans, and to classify in a methodical order the objects which relate to the public and private life of the ancient Egyptians. This will provide a systematic collection of monuments relating to religion, the history of kings, and the civil customs of the Egyptians.
This is the goal we are trying to achieve, and whatever difficulties such an undertaking may seem to present at first, since we are dealing with monuments, the usual subjects of so many aberrations, and which we used to consider as inexplicable, […]” Champollion le Jeune, Jean-François, Notice descriptive des monumens égyptiens du musée Charles X, Paris, Crapelet, 1827, p. ii–iii.
- Champollion thus placed his scientific project on a ground where he felt unassailable; the need for him to explain his reasons in this way proves, however, that he was not perfectly confident in his position. It is moreover with a certain bad faith against the first section of the antiquities that he presented this argument: “the presence of these inscriptions on the largest colossus as well as on the smallest amulet, makes, for the future, the study of the Egyptian monumens much less conjectural than that of the Greek or Roman monumens, which, for the most part, are totally devoid of explanatory inscriptions. (Champollion le Jeune, Jean-François, Notice descriptive des monumens égyptiens du musée Charles X, Paris, Crapelet, 1827, p. iv).
- It should be remembered that he had started to publish a Panthéon égyptien in the course of its research (see Yoyotte, Jean, “Champollion et le panthéon égyptien”, Bulletin de la Société française d’égyptologie 95, 1982, p. 76-108).
- Tanré-Szewczyk, Juliette, “Des antiquités égyptiennes au musée. Modèle, appropriation et consitution du champ de l’égyptologie dans la première moitié du XIXe siècle, à travers l’exemple croisé du Louvre et du British Museum”, Cahiers de l’École du Louvre 11, 2017, § 6.
- See Champollion le Jeune, Jean-François (Guichard, Sylvie, ed.), Notice descriptive des monuments égyptiens, Paris, Louvre – Khéops, 2013.
- “The gods and sacred animals are on yellow Sienna or Verona marble bases, the royal monuments on oriental alabaster, the civilians on serpentine and the funerary ones on black bases” (Hartleben, Hermine (ed.), Lettres de Champollion le Jeune, vol. 1 Lettres écrites d’Italie (Bibliothèque égyptologique 30), Paris, Ernest Leroux, 1909, letter to Abbot Gazzera, from Paris, 1827, p. 420). This system takes up the thematic divisions that also governed the distribution of the rooms (religious iconography; civil, royal and private monuments; funerary objects). It is not known whether this distinction was made explicit to visitors.
- Hartleben, Hermine (ed.), Lettres de Champollion le Jeune, vol. 1 Lettres écrites d’Italie (Bibliothèque égyptologique 30), Paris, Ernest Leroux, 1909, letter to Champollion-Figeac, from Bologna, 4th October 1826, p. 395–396: “According to what Mr de Forbin told me, it seems that it is proposed to line these rooms with marble and decoration in the Roman or Greek style. I cannot consent to this ridiculous arrangement. It is absolutely necessary, in order to obey propriety and common sense, that my rooms be decorated in the Egyptian style. And Egyptian decorations, which are as good as Greek decorations, will cost much less than the marbles that would by bought at a gread cost to do a bad thing.
This does not prevent the ceilings from being painted by good painters. They will put either allegorical or Egyptian subjects on them, but the walls and all the furniture, cupboards and tables, must be in true Egyptian style: this is the only way to do well and to do something new at the same time.”; letter to Abbot Gazzera, from Domodossola, 14 October 1826, p. 403: “I have to be there to prevent the making of buns (i.e. nonsense) for room decorations”.
- Hermine Hartleben reports, however, without specific reference, that he designed Egyptian-style furniture models in Italy for his museum (Hartleben, Hermine (ed.), Lettres de Champollion le Jeune, vol. 1 Lettres écrites d’Italie (Bibliothèque égyptologique 30), Paris, Ernest Leroux, 1909, p. 423). I have so far been unable to locate these drawings or to specify their fate (I thank however Mmes Sylvie Guichard and Karine Madrigal who kindly answered me on this subject).
- Archives nationales, 20144775/2, letter from Camille Duteil to the director, 11 June 1848 (maybe never sent): “The path that I propose to adopt, citizen Director, is precisely that of the Egyptian initiation, the seven degrees of the mystical ladder that starts from idolatry to reach spiritualism, passing through Sabaism and pantheism. This is the simplest way to arrive at an exact knowledge of the mystical figures that populate the Egyptian museum of the Louvre. – But first I will have to deal with the hieroglyphic alphabet and, for the perfect understanding of the symbols, it is necessary, indispensable even, that next to the symbolic sculptures belonging to the animal kingdom (only for the animals foreign to our soil) we have the stuffed animal so that the colour of the conversion of the hierogrammates, which very seldom agrees with the natural colour, can come to support the reasoning that will lead us to determine the symbolic value of the different animals that create a sacred alphabet. Thus, for example, the viper hajé [naja haje, Egyptian cobra, named by Linnaeus in 1756, from the Arabic حية ḥayah, “snake, asp”] symbol of intelligence and light is a greenish snake with brown spots, but it is always coloured yellow in the texts when it is represented as a symbol”.
- Appointed by order of the Minister of the Interior on 1 May 1848, he was in post at least until March 1849 (Archives nationales, 20150497/118, file127, letter from Duteil to the director, 9 March 1849) but was replaced on 1 August (see next note).
- Rougé took up his post at the museum on 1 August 1849 as curator (Archives nationales, 20150497/511, double-p. 6).
- Archives nationales, 20144775/3, letter from Rougé to the director, 28 décembre 1849.
- Rougé (de), Emmanuel [Maspero, Gaston (ed.)], Œuvres diverses, vol. 1 (Bibliothèque égyptologique 21), Paris, Ernest Leroux, 1907, p. XIX.
- Archives nationales, 2014475/2, letter from architect Duban to director Nieuwerkerke, 9 January 1850.
- Privat-d’Anglemont, Alexandre, “Musée de la sculpture égyptienne au Louvre”, Le Siècle, 16 octobre 1849.
- Aulanier, Christiane, Le musée Charles X et le département des antiquités égyptiennes (Histoire du palais et du musée du Louvre 8), Paris, Éditions des musées nationaux, 1961, p. 60.
- Archives nationales, 20144775/2 (letter from Rougé to the director on 6 February 1850 and answer from the 16 February 1850; the destination of these rooms is however not specified).
- Guichard, Sylvie, “Le département des antiquités égyptiennes” in Brec-Bautier, Geneviève & Lintz, Yannick (ed.), Histoire du Louvre, vol. 3, Louvre éditions, 2016, p. 80-84, p. 81.
- Rougé (de), Emmanuel, Notice sommaire des monuments égyptiens exposés dans les galeries du musée du Louvre, Paris, Simon Raçon et cie, 1855, p. 50–51.
- Rougé (de), Emmanuel “Rapport sur la réorganisation des salles égyptiennes du musée du Louvre”, in Rougé (de), Emmanuel [Maspero, Gaston, ed.], Œuvres diverses, vol. 2 (Bibliothèque égyptologique 22), Paris, Ernest Leroux, , p. 457–461. The “octagonal cases” mentioned are large, low, octagonal display cases, the model of which was taken up by Auguste Mariette when he created the Boulaq Museum, and then by Emile Guimet in his own museums.
- Rougé (de), Emmanuel, Notice des monuments exposés dans la galerie des antiquités égyptiennes au musée du Louvre, Paris, Vinchon, 1849, p. 92. The cast was made in 1822 (Archives nationales, 20144775/8), on the occasion of the temporary exhibition of the Zodiac (1821-1823), attributed to the Bibliothèque nationale; the original went to the Louvre in 1919.
- Rougé (de) Emmanuel, Notice sommaire des monuments égyptiens exposés dans les galeries du musée du Louvre, Paris, Simon Raçon et cie, 1855, p. 52; these surveys were then deposited in the Guimet Museum in Lyon in 1913: Archives nationales, F/21/447, dossier “Musée Guimet, Lyon”, 28 April 1913 list; Galliano, Geneviève (ed.), Un jour j’achetai une momie. Émile Guimet et l’Égypte antique, Lyon, Hazan, 2012, p. 46, n. 16.
- Archives nationales, 20144775/2; Guichard, Sylvie, “Le département des antiquités égyptiennes”, in Brec-Bautier, Geneviève & Lintz, Yannick (ed.), Histoire du Louvre, vol. 3, Louvre éditions, 2016, p. 80-84, p. 81.
- Archives nationales, 20144775/2, letter from Bénédite to Pierret, 31 July 1895.
- “This room, Mr Révillout undertook to use it by bringing together disparate monuments, large statues of mediocre art and bas-reliefs of secondary interest, alongside busts or small groups and objects in display cases […] These monuments, brought together without any spirit of classification and placed on pedestals of a garish tone, give this gallery the appearance of a shop and not a museum room.” (Archives nationales, 20144775/2, letter from curator Pierret to director Kaempfen, 2 August 1895) I have not yet found any trace of the date when the Algiers gallery opened to the public, despite its fitting out by Révillout.
- Archives nationales, 20144775/2, letter from Bénédite to Pierret, 31 July 1895.
- Archives nationales, 20144775/2, letter from Bénédite to Pierret, 31 July 1895; the “Pastors” are the Hyksos from the Second Intermediate Period (c. 1700 – 1550 B.C.).
- Archives nationales, 20144775/2, letter from Pierret to the directeur Albert Kaempfen (2 August 1895) and its reply (7 [August] 1895).
- Guichard, Sylvie, “Le département des antiquités égyptiennes”, in Brec-Bautier, Geneviève et Lintz, Yannick (ed.), Histoire du Louvre, vol. 3, Louvre éditions, 2016, p. 80-84, p. 81.
- Archives nationales, F/21/4475/B, exchange of Bénédite with the director, 8 March-18 April 1898.
- Phelip, Gaston, “Au musée du Louvre. Les nouvelles salles des antiquités égyptiennes”; Le Journal, 18 July 1902.
- Phelip, Gaston, “Au musée du Louvre. Les nouvelles salles des antiquités égyptiennes”, Le Journal, 18 July 1902: “Thus – to take one example – the jewels were scattered throughout the various rooms, mixed with crude glassware, of great historical interest, but devoid of artistic value. From 1897 onwards, the jewels were placed in a single showcase, where, skilfully displayed, they won the admiration of Egyptologists and seduced the female gaze.”; “the tones of the ivories and woods are artistically supported by the colour of the velvet that supports them.”
- Archives nationales, 20144775/9.
- Bénédite, Georges, “La nouvelle salle des antiquités égyptiennes et le mastaba d’Akhouthotep au musée du Louvre”, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, p. 177–192; Guichard, Sylvie, “Le département des antiquités égyptiennes”, in Brec-Bautier, Geneviève & Lintz, Yannick (ed.), Histoire du Louvre, vol. 3, Louvre éditions, 2016, p. 80-84, p. 81. The “Seated Scribe” and the “Salt Head”, the latter then dated to the Old Kingdom, stayed on the Cour Carrée main floor. See also “Un ministre bredouille à l’inauguration du mastaba du Louvre – il y a 120 ans”, 11 juillet 2021.