Uniques

Maidstone Museum
 & Bentlif Art Gallery

Uncovering Ethnography in Kent and Sussex

For Maidstone Museum & Bentlif Art Gallery, the project increased understanding of the African collection and highlighted significant collectors who were living in, travelling around and collecting material from Africa in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Most of the collectors uncovered lived locally to Maidstone. They include Olive Temple (later Macleod), a female explorer and collector in early 20th century Northern Nigeria, with stories of her travels published in the London Magazine. Cecil Blackburne, a game hunter and collector who published two books in 1913/14, ‘My African Travels’ and ‘From Oriental to Occidental Africa’. Walter Pitt, a District Commissioner for Ashanti (West African Coast) in the 1920s-30s whose collection includes the very significant Boafo Shrine figures. And, Major Frederic Newnham who lived in South Africa and took an expedition to Victoria falls in 1895, part of his collection is also held at the British Museum.

The objects displayed here demonstrate the quality and diversity of the objects that these collectors brought back from their trips to Africa.

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