NOTABLE ARCHAEOLOGISTS Bernardino Michele Maria Drovetti (1776–1852)

May 11, 2011

NOTABLE ARCHAEOLOGISTS Bernardino Michele Maria Drovetti (1776–1852)

An Italian diplomat who fought in Napoleon Bonaparte’s army in Italy, Drovetti rose to become French consul general in Egypt (1811–1814). An interest in Egyptology led him to build up an impressive collection of antiquities, employing local agents to excavate sites or purchase objects from other excavators.


His first collection, rejected by the king of France, was bought instead by the king of Sardinia and entered the Egyptian Museum of Turin. His second collection was bought for the Louvre in Paris, and Berlin’s Egyptian Museum acquired his third collection.
Difficult and sometimes unscrupulous, Drovetti was often in conflict with the contemporary collector Henry Salt, whose agent, Belzoni, managed to remove part of a massive statue of Ramesses II from Luxor to the British Museum in London, despite the attempts of Drovetti’s agents to foil the plan.

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