Thomas Bridge 11 July 2014

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

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

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.’

Pushing for real reform image

Pushing for real reform

The pandemic was a game changer for the central/local government relationship, says Joanne Roney, who has started her two-year stint as president of Solace.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Consultant in Public Health

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£76,130 - £87,034 per annum
We are recruiting to an exciting opportunity that has arisen for a Consultant in Public Health.   Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Vehicle Technician x2

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,982 - £29,577 per annum
These positions are fixed term contracts for 12 months with the prospect of a permanent roles once the Class C Driving Licence has been obtained.  Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Solution Designer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£37.722 - £40.869
We are currently recruiting for 2 x Solution Designers Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Highway Development Control Manager (Highways and Engineering)

Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council
£35,662 - £41-811 per annum
We are looking for an exceptional candidate who can work with internal and external clients to assess the transport and highways elements of... Calderdale, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council

Lead Course Tutor (Avalon Project)

Camden London Borough Council
£30,893 - £35,488 per annum
We work with young people from 11-19 year olds (up to 25 years old for young people with SEND/EBD) in Camden and surrounding boroughs. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue