Lady Meux’ Scarab Necklace, Dyn. 12-25

Lady Meux’ Scarab Necklace, Dyn. 12-25
Dating:1991 BC–656 BC
Material:Steatite/soap stone
Physical:68cm. (26.6 in.) -

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Links to others representing Khepry

Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18

Links to others of type Scarab

Scarab “begets the existence of Amun”
Scarab, decorative style, Dyn. 15
Scarab of Piankhi, Dyn. 25
Scarab of protection, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Senusret I, Dyn. 12
Scarab of Sobekhotep, Dyn. 13, 1720 BC
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab with Amun-Re, solar discs, Dyn. 18
Scarab with ‘Ba’, Dyn. 18
Scarab with “faith in Justice,” Dyn. 18
Scarab with God Khonsu, Dyn. 18
Scarab with Goddess Hathor
Scarab with Goddess Hathor, 1070-656 BC
Scarab with Horus of the Horizon, Dyn. 18
Scarab with king and obelisk
Scarab with Lord Ptah, Dyn. 12
Scarab with “Master of the Two Lands”
Scarab with ‘nsw-bity’, Dyn. 18
Scarab with Ra and four cobras, Dyn. 12
Scarab with ‘sa’ singing birds, Dyn. 18
Scarab with Thot Ka Ra, Dyn. 12
  This necklace was assembled in the nineteenth century for noted Egyptian antiquities collector Lady Meux of Theobalds Park. It incorporates thirty one glazed steatite scarabs from her collection, ranging from Dynasty 12 to Dynasty 25. Each of these scarabs is discussed individually (see “Links to others of type Scarab” below left).

The legendary egyptologist Wallis Budge (1857–1934), who remained Curator of Egyptian antiquities at the British Museum for thirty years, authored countless seminal works and served on the faculty at Cambridge, was intimately familiar with Lady Meux’s collection. He documented that she had accumulated “about eight hundred scarabs and amulets from Abydos” and we can only assume that this necklace represents her selection from these holdings.

Lady Meux
But Lady Meux’s collection was not limited to amulets. Her passion for Egypt led her to bring together a cogent selection of over 1,700 significant Egyptian artifacts. She twice published at her own cost a detailed catalog of her collection, authored by Budge.

After acquiring a series of early Christian illuminated manuscripts looted from churches by the English during the siege of Maqdala (Ethiopia) in 1868, she turned again to Budge for translations, and published extraordinary facsimile volumes, including one hundred and eleven colored plates.

“Nothing in a systematic way of publishing specimens of Ethiopian Art had been done before LADY MEUX published the coloured facsimiles of all the illustrations, both vignettes and full pages, from her two splendid manuscripts of the Miracles of the Virgin Mary and from the Life of Anna the mother of the Virgin, and the Life of Mabâ Seyon”(J.B. Hare 1994:

Lady Meux proved ahead of her time when it came to returning historically significant artifacts to their country of origin.

“. . . when Lady Meux made her Will, on 23 January 1910, she bequeathed her Ethiopian manuscripts to Emperor Menilek [of Ethiopia]. The Times, reporting this, stated that ‘envoys from the Emperor were sent over to arrange for their [the manuscripts’] recovery, and it is believed that the present bequest is the fulfillment of a promise then given’.

Lady Meux died on 20 December of the same year. Her Will created a sensation, because a section of the British public apparently pined for the manuscripts’ retention in England. An article in The Times, of 7 February 1911, stated: ‘Many persons interested in Oriental Christianity... will view with extreme regret the decision of Lady Meux to send her valuable MSS once and for all out of the country’.

The Will was thereupon overturned, on the grounds that Menilek was dead when Lady Meux died. He did not in fact die until December 1913, and in any case had heirs. Lady Meux’s intention was, however, frustrated” (AFROMET

After the courts subverted her Will—ostensibly to keep the manuscripts in Britain—the most significant ones were quickly auctioned off to the American press magnate William Randolf Hearst.

Lady Meux was an assiduous visitor of the British Museum to which she bequeathed her entire Egyptian antiquities collection. But sadly, after her death in 1910, the Board of the British Museum would not agree to the deed of trust, and refused the bequest, which was sold at auction.

Perhaps too beautiful, perhaps too flamboyant, certainly too forthright, although welcome amongst her friends Egyptologists, Valerie Meux was scorned by the British upper class. When the magazine Truth ran a story on her pre-marital mores, “Valerie defended herself by writing ‘I can very honestly say that my sins were committed before marriage and not after’, without realizing that a lady should not acknowledge any sins at all” (National Gallery of Australia 2004:

“Lady Meux was not accepted by her husband's aristocratic family nor by polite Victorian society. . . Lady Valerie Susie Meux, née Langdon, married Henry Bruce Meux in haste and in secret on 27 August 1878. . . . She claimed to have been an actress before her marriage to Henry Meux, but was believed to have worked under the name Val Reece at the Casino de Venise in Holburn. . . . He was a London brewer who. . . was educated at Eton and then at Trinity College, Cambridge. Captain and Honorary Major of the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry Cavalry, [he]. . . became third and last baronet of Theobald's Park, Waltham Cross, Herefordshire in 1883 (Center for Whistler Studies 2003,

Life at Theobalds Park was lavish, and Valerie knew how to turn her husband’s brewery profits into works of art. Was it the example of Pharaohs that led her to salvage then reassemble at her Theobalds Park estate the Temple Bar—one of the eight monumental stone gates of London built in 1672 and unceremoniously dismantled in 1878 to make way for modern urban conveniences?

Today, perhaps unfairly, the most conspicuous impression left by Valerie Meux upon the fabric of time is her vibrant, youthful, feminine image captured by the American impressionist Whistler.

Sir Henry Meux, who was also a patron of the arts, commissioned from Whistler three portraits of his wife in 1881 for 1500 guineas. . . . In Arrangement in Black: Lady Meux(Honolulu Academy of Arts, HI), Harmony in Pink and Grey: Portrait of Lady Meux (Frick Collection, NY), and Portrait of Lady Meux in Furs, Whistler presented Lady Meux as a rather sensual and fashion conscious figure. They were significant works for Whistler, being the first full-scale commissions to have been given him following his bankruptcy in 1879. . . . They were also significant for Meux being painted by an artist of some considerable notoriety.” (Center for Whistler Studies 2003,

Bibliography (for this item)

Budge, E. A. Wallis, Sir
1896 Some Account of the Collection of Egyptian Antiquities in the Posession of Lady Meux, of Theobald’s Park. 2nd edition. Harrison & sons, London, United Kingdom. (Page viii)

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