Shelbourne's banished statues were part of mania for all things Egyptian
Story of Nubian princess became known in 19th century after hieroglyphics translated
A plinth outside the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, after a statue had been removed in recent days. Photograph Nick Bradshaw
John Ducie, a tour guide and former vice-chairman of An Taisce, said the story of the princess captured by the Egyptians was the inspiration for countless books, statues and most famously of all Verdi's opera, Aida, which premiered in 1871 but had been in preparation for years beforehand.
The captured Nubian princess who became queen of Egypt when the pharoah fell in love with her was known to people in 19th century society when Egyptologists learned to translate hieroglyphics.
"The story itself is from the 1850s. Verdi's opera is just the best known of a series of playwrights and operatic composers from that period who used the story. It was used over and over again," Mr Ducie explained.
The four statues were erected at the front of the Shelbourne in 1867 and have been there since, until their removal on Monday.
You will find these statues all over the place. People put them in their homes. Everything Egyptian was so chic
They depict two Nubian princesses from Nubia in modern-day Sudan and their shackled slave girls. The pieces were commissioned from the MM Barbezat studios in Paris.
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