Skip Navigation or Skip to Content

British Collecting in Ethiopia 1769 to 1960: Explorers, Missionaries, Military Expeditions, and Royal Gifting

Last updated: 8 February 2022

About the research

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.

 

Lead image: Box lyre or begena of wood and hide, played in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church to accompany psalms and histories: Africa, East Africa, Ethiopia, Addis Alem, c. 1900.

Doctoral research project details

Project title

British Collecting in Ethiopia 1769 to 1960: Explorers, Missionaries, Military Expeditions, and Royal Gifting

Student

Alexandra Watson Jones

Project active

2019 - present

Funder

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

Research theme

Scotland's Material Heritage, Identities and Cultural Contacts

Email icon Dr John Giblin

You may be interested in

Back to top