Campaigners set for Sekhemka protest

Sekhemka statue
Sekhemka statue

Campaigners battling to stop the proposed sale of a £2m Egyptian statue will stage a protest outside the Guildhall ahead of a meeting tonight.

Graphic novelist Alan Moore is expected to be among a crowd of campaigners lobbying Northampton Borough Council to keep the statue of Sekhemka.

The monument has been in Northampton Museum’s collections since the 19th century, when it was donated by the then Lord Northampton following a trip to Egypt.

Meanwhile, senior officials at campaign group Rescue have written to the local authority pleading with them to keep the statue and avoid a sell-off, event hough the money would be used to fund heritage sites such as Delapre Abbey.

The letter, seen by the Chron, states: “The statue was originally given to the Museum by the 3rd Marquis of Northampton, with the intention that the people of Northampton should learn from it and enjoy it. He doubtless assumed that the public would be allowed to appreciate the sculpture in perpetuity.

“The concept that Northampton Museum’s collections should only reflect the town’s history, important though that is, is short-sighted and suggests that the public do not wish to see, or are incapable of appreciating objects of other places and cultures.

“The statue has been on public view and appreciated for many years in the Museum. The proposed sale may result in its future inaccessibility to the public.

“If Sekhemka is deemed to have been ‘cherry-picked’, solely to realise its monetary value, there could be devastating consequences for the future of the Museum’s funding, in respect of both its Accredited and Designated Collection statuses.

Just as importantly, such a sale would also undermine public goodwill and confidence in the museum, as a place where collections are cherished for this and future generations, rather than treated as ‘assets’, along with office furniture and the like.

“A consequence would be that people would become reluctant to make donations, if they perceived that their future within the collections could not be assured.”

The meeting to decide whether or not to push ahead with the sale will be held at 6pm tonight.