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Geoffrey Cantor

I greatly enjoyed the programme on Biddulph Grange Garden. However, I hope you won't mind if I point out that there was no Egyptian Court at the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park. The relatively small display of Egyptian items consisted mainly of utilitarian products, such as cotton cloth and samples of wheat, that had little or no bearing on ancient Egyptian civilization. The 1851 diary entry "Saw Egypt" may also refer to the impressive display of Egyptian antiquities, which occupied two rooms in the British Museum. Another possibility is the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly, in which a panorama of the Nile was on display. There was also the Egyptian Hall within the Mansion House.
Three years later, in 1854, the Crystal Palace opened in Sydenham. It included an Egyptian Court, which I think was the illustration shown in your programme.

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  • I'm an award-winning writer of seven books, including "The Invention of Nature" and “Founding Gardeners”. My new book "Magnificent Rebels. The First Romantics and the Invention of the Self" will be published in Sept/Oct 2022. I lecture widely across the world. Click here for a short bio and here for a list of awards. Contact: andrea (at) andreawulf.com

    Andrea Wulf 3

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