Thesis Title: Sir John Gardner Wilkinson: cultures of antiquarianism in Egypt, Europe and England
My research primarily focuses on the life of Sir John Gardner Wilkinson (1797-1875), a Georgian/ Victorian polymath. Despite being regarded as the 'Father of British Egyptology', Wilkinson is relatively little-known today among non-specialists compared with more famous Egyptologists of the later nineteenth century such as Flinders Petrie. In part, I believe this is due to Wilkinson's own eclectic approach. Unlike later Egyptologists, Wilkinson's methodology was more closely aligned to that of the antiquary (involving copying, sketching and cast-making, as opposed to excavation and investigating site histories), a methodology which has been overlooked by a search for ancestors in modern Egyptology. Additionally, Wilkinson was not confined to Egypt: after writing a much-celebrated book, Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians (1837), he resumed a 'Grand Tour' of the Mediterranean, including a visit to the Balkans highly unusual for British travellers of the time, immediately prior to the struggle of nationalist agitators in the region.
Much of the material I will be looking at is in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Quite unusually for Victorian scholars, there is a substantial archive, of Wilkinson's sketchbooks, travel journals and correspondence. Looking at Wilkinson's travels across the Mediterranean world and regarding Wilkinson as an antiquarian, I aim to bring together different strands of Wilkinson's life, extending well beyond ancient cultures, toward Wilkinson's appreciation of the modern social/ political scene and also his contribution to physical geography. I am also interested in the scale of Wilkinson's contribution to modern professional disciplines, an angle that Sweet (2004) has highlighted as previously underappreciated for antiquaries.
Supervisors and Institution(s):
Professor Charles Watkins (University of Nottingham)
Doctor Ross Balzaretti (University of Nottingham)
Professor Roey Sweet (University of Leicester)
Publications (please include full details with page nos. or web links):
Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:
I am Lead Editor for other research outputs (book reviews, exhibition reviews, conference proceedings) at the Midlands Historical Review journal.
Other Research Interests:
History of Egyptology, Archaeology and Antiquarianism
Exploration and travel writing histories
Colonial History and geography
The British in Egypt (from colonial encounter to the colonial occupation)
The British in the Balkans
Environmental History (inc. Botany)
Visual cultures of the above
<add picture here>
University email address: <email@example.com>