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Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Historic Harrogate jewellers to host Egyptology exhibition - The Stray Ferret

Historic Harrogate jewellers to host Egyptology exhibition
Sep 5, 2023
Robert (left) and Ben Ogden with their great great grandfather's hat and spectacles.

One of Harrogate's most famous shops is to host an Egyptology exhibition that highlights its links to Tutankhamun.

Ogden of Harrogate's Egyptomania exhibition, which opens on Thursday, celebrates 130 years of the family jewellers and the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb.

James R Ogden, who founded the business in 1893, travelled widely to obtain jewels and the exhibition features his artefacts and letters.

When Howard Carter discovered Tutankhamun's tomb, he invited Ogden to the Valley of the Kings to value and weigh the gold, including Tutankhamun's coffin.

The Harrogate jeweller was one of the first people in over 3,000 years to enter the tomb.

JR Ogden, who founded the family jewellers.

Ogden of Harrogate, which is based on James Street, is now run by JR Ogden's great, great grandsons Robert and Ben Ogden.

Robert Ogden said:

"The history of our business is our cornerstone and we have recently been cataloguing our archive, where we have a vast collection of JR Ogden's memorabilia, including a remarkable collection of 10,000 lantern slides of his travels to Tutankhamun's tomb, and artefacts from his expeditions to Ur, Babylon, Palestine, Syria, and Assyria.

"There are also hundreds of letters that are fascinating glimpses of the key characters of that time, and their explorations."

JR Ogden knew Howard Carter, Lord Carnarvon, Max Mallowan (Agatha Christie's second husband) and worked particularly closely with the archaeologists Leonard and Katharine Woolley.

Some of these artefacts and letters will be on display for the first time.

The exhibition also includes previously unseen letters of Katharine Woolley, a pioneering female archaeologist, that are of particular interest, as on her death she asked that all her personal documents be destroyed.

Yvonne Nightingale, general manager at Ogden of Harrogate, with some letters from the exhibition. Pic: Lorne Campbell. Guzelian

Ogden made many replicas of the artefacts found at Tutankhamun and Ur and donated them to the British Museum.

The exhibition provides an insight into the social and political context in which archaeology was practiced at that time. JR Ogden collected hundreds of newspaper clippings about archaeological digs, some of which will also be on display.

Egyptology runs at Ogden of Harrogate on James Street, Harrogate, from September 7 to 21.

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