- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
Gayer-Anderson: The Life and Afterlife of the Irish Pasha Hardcover – 29 Oct 2016
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"A delightful portrait of 'John' Gayer-Anderson, which offers both insights into a fascinating man famed for his collecting of antiquities--now spread across the world's museums--and a mirror to the rapidly changing world of the first half of the 20th century. . . . Gayer-Anderson witnessed the fading of the British Empire alongside shifting attitudes to religion and sexuality. His unpublished memoirs, poetry, and drawings underpin this profile that is intimate, amusing, and sometimes gruesome."--Neal Spencer, British Museum
"Gayer-Anderson is a fascinating figure, his name commemorated today in the form of the ancient Egyptian cat sculpture that he gave to the British Museum--the Gayer-Anderson cat. So it is good to have an exhaustive biography at last of this remarkable man."--Penelope Lively
About the Author
Louise Foxcroft is a prize-winning historian and Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Magdalene College, Cambridge. She has published six books, and has appeared on television and radio. www.louisefoxcroft.com
Showing 1-2 of 2 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Gayer-Anderson was a collector of antiquities, he was also a paedophile. Born in 1881, he had an identical twin, Tom, who called him Pum. Their father was a nasty, sadistic Irishman, and a banker. He disciplined his sons in a harsh military fashion. Their education at Tonbridge was rudimentary. Father had an enormous effect on their miserable lives. Later, Pum got his revenge by getting father Henry to burn the family accounts.
Pum began training as a doctor at Guy's in 1898. He developed an intense dislike of women. Instead, boys attract him. Pum joined the RAMC after qualifying and in 1907 he was posted to Egypt. It became his carnal home. He learned Arabic and took to wearing Arab clothes. He soo acquired a happy family of boys. Two years were spent in the Sudan investigating leprosy. He hunted, witnessed floggings as well as public hangings. Pum regarded Africans as uncivilised creatures. They were cruel, depraved, bestial and appalling people. In brief, he was violently antisemitic.
In the Great War he served in the Arab Bureau of Intelligence where he met T E Lawrence. He regarded him as a genius but very devious. In the Gallipoli campaign he worked with a field ambulance, went on patrols and suffered with dysentery and diphtheria. In 1919 he returned to Egypt. In 1923 he left the army. Pum had a son by a female friend. He soon fell out with her and kicked her out. The boy was packed off to boarding school. Pum died in 1945.
Pum left many glorious museum pieces which are in several museums in this country. There are more than 7,500 pieces in the Fitzwilliam alone. Some were smuggled out of Egypt.
Pum was one of many homosexual Empire builders, for example, Gordon, Kitchener, Baden-Powell, Lawrence, Montgomery and Thesiger. Foxcroft has obviously had to omit certain details about Pum's life but nevertheless has written an absorbing and engaging account. Above all, she sets her subject in the context of his time. Pum was a fascinating creature and pretty unlikeable.
Based on Gayer-Anderson’s own reminiscences, Foxcroft reveals a kind of split personality: on one hand, the respectable conventional military man; on the other, the obsessive collector and aesthete with psychic and cosmic interests. His early life was somewhat unsettled, from his birth in 1887 in Ireland, his early uprooting to America and eventual return to his native land. He and his twin brother Tom were ruled with a firm hand by their rigid father whose strong views on male development forced the boys into themselves, creating rich but secret inner lives.
Robert, always known by his twin as ‘Pum’, trained as a doctor before joining the Royal Army Medical Corps at the time of the Boer War. He led a fascinating life in the Sudan and Nubia. His adventures read like a Boy’s Own Comic and were typical of the high days of imperialism: a spell in the camel corps, heatstroke, encounters with cannibal tribes and big-game hunting, carried out between his medical tasks – treating leprosy, sleeping sickness and other scourges. Eventually these excitements began to pall and he returned to his beloved Cairo where he enjoyed the fleshpots while immersing himself in the joys of collecting beautiful objects, which he did obsessively. His belief in his own psychic powers sometimes led him to make wonderful discoveries.
One such was a copy of Denon’s Voyage to Egypt commissioned by Napoleon, which turned out to be Napoleon’s own personally annotated volume.
After the First World War there was a great deal of anti-British feeling in Egypt. Pum was even targeted as a murder victim by one group who felt because of his status in the city, his death would cause a real stir. He fortunately survived the plot. To overcome these traumatic episodes, he spent some time at Chicago House in Luxor, taking impressions and making casts of the reliefs in some of the tombs of the nobles. These casts can now be seen built into the walls of his Cairo House. When he finally left Cairo for good, he donated his beautiful home to the Egyptian nation. In 1943 he was honoured with the title ‘Pasha’ by King Farouk. At the outbreak of World War II, he concentrated on recording and restoring his beloved objects before donating them to important British museums and some others world-wide. It is for this reason that the world of Egyptology remembers him.
Reviewed by ancientegyptmagazine dot com