Thomas Bridge 11 July 2014

Northampton BC under-fire after selling Egyptian statue for £16m

Northampton Borough Council has been heavily criticised for selling an ancient Egyptian statue to fund local museum improvements.

The 4,000-year-old limestone statue of Sekhemka – gifted to a local museum in the nineteenth century - was yesterday sold at auction by Christie’s for £15,762,500.

The borough council will retain £8m from the sale, while Lord Northampton will receive a further £6m.

A last minute legal challenge from the Egyptian Government failed to halt or postpone the sale.

Egyptian Ambassador Ahsraf Elkholy branded the deal ‘an abuse to the Egyptian archaeology and the cultural property’.

Before the auction, Elkholy told the BBC: ‘A museum should not be a store. Sekhemka belongs to Egypt and if Northampton Borough Council does not want it then it must be given back.’

Northampton will use the proceeds of the sale to help fund a major extension to its museum and art gallery. Work has already begun on developments at the site, which will be central to the development of Northampton’s cultural quarter.

Council leader Cllr David Mackintosh, said: ‘This money will allow us to realise our exciting plans for the future of the museum service.

‘Every penny is ring-fenced for the museum service and we will now make our museum redevelopment plans a reality.’

However the Arts Council today confirmed Northampton Museum could now lose accreditation following the sale. A decision on local compliance will be made later this month.

Scott Furlong, director of acquisitions exports loans collections unit at Arts Council England said it was ‘very disappointing’ that the council committed to the sale before concluding discussions with the body.

‘Those who choose to approach the sale of collections cynically or with little regard for the sectoral standards or their long-term responsibilities will only further alienate both key funders and the public who put their trust in them to care for our shared inheritance,’ Furlong said.

‘It is of great importance that the public retain trust in museums to look after the collections held in their name. We are concerned that this trust may be undermined if disposals from public collections are seen to be driven by financial considerations.’

Skate parks are not the only fruit image

Skate parks are not the only fruit

On Go Skateboarding Day, Susannah Walker asks councils and their leisure and park departments to think differently about what facilities they provide for teenagers.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Digital Infrastructure & Inclusion Programme Manager

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
£52,051 - £62,147
It’s exciting times at Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Digital Infrastructure Project Manager

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
£37,600 - £50,531
It’s exciting times at Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Next Generation Wireless Project Manager

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
£47,631 – £50,531
It’s exciting times at Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Adult Social Worker - Long Term Intervention Team x2 - Carlisle

Cumbria County Council
£31,895 - £32,798
We recognise that our workforce are best placed to design and embed new ways of working to achieve a modern social care service. Cumbria
Recuriter: Cumbria County Council

Independent Living Assessor

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£26,544 - £30,618
We support people’s independence and wellbeing, and work hard to enable them to live in the community with dignity, choice and control. Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.