Last updated: 8 February 2022
As part of wider British interest in Ethiopia, Scotland has a long history of collecting Ethiopian material culture: from the first British person to visit Ethiopia, the Scottish explorer and collector, James Bruce of Kinnaird (1730–94), to the British military punitive expedition to Magdala (1867-1868), which included the Cameronian Scottish Rifles and resulted in significant looting of objects, many of which returned with Scottish soldiers and officers.
Focusing on National Museums Scotland’s Ethiopian collection, this PhD will investigate British ‘colonial’ collecting in Ethiopia, and Scotland’s prominent role within this wider context. The project aims to use objects to deepen understanding of Britain’s colonial era relationships with an ostensibly non-colonised country, Ethiopia. In so doing, it will help to reveal the entanglement of gifting, collecting and diplomacy in the modern world.
British Collecting in Ethiopia 1769 to 1960: Explorers, Missionaries, Military Expeditions, and Royal Gifting
Alexandra Watson Jones
2019 - present
AHRC Scottish Cultural Heritage Consortium (SCHC) – Collaborative Doctoral Partnership
University of St Andrews Supervisors
Dr Kate Cowcher and Dr Karen Brown - School of Art History
National Museums Scotland Supervisors
Scotland's Material Heritage, Identities and Cultural Contacts