Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stone baboons returned to Cliveden

The Guardian, UK (Maev Kennedy)

The faintly smiling stone baboons look so modern few could guess they watched the Roman legionaries march into Egypt, the fall of the Roman empire – and almost 2,000 years later – a scandal begin that almost brought down a government.

The unique pair– 2,500 years old and originally made to flank the entrance to a temple of Thoth in ancient Egypt – have been reinstated by the National Trust in the gardens at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire, after an absence of half a century. The gardens around the mansion were the setting for the 1961 Profumo affair, where Christine Keeler, mistress of a Soviet naval attache who was also a spy and John Profumo, the war secretary, fatefully met. Their triangular affair, and Profumo's denial of it to parliament, ruined his career and led to the suicide of Stephen Ward, the society osteopath who introduced them all.

There is nothing like the granite baboons in any garden in Britain, or as far as curator and Egyptologist Wendy Monkhouse can discover, in any garden or museum in the world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They should have been returned to EGYPT, not Clivedon.