[ Catherine Hutton, novelist, letter writer; Egyptology ] Autograph Letter Signed, thanking the Egyptologist T.J. Pettigrew for a gift of 'hieroglyphics', and protesting against the removal of a sarcophagus to 'the fogs of an English climate'.

Catherine Hutton (1756-1846), novelist, letter writer and autograph collector [ Thomas James Pettigrew (1791-1865), Egyptologist, surgeon, antiquary and librarian to the Duke of Sussex ]
Publication details: 
'Bennett's Hill near Birmingham'. 29 December 1843.
SKU: 19856

2pp., 12mo. In fair condition, lightly aged. As Pettigrew's entry in the Oxford DNB explains, he 'had been interested in Egyptology since the 1820s; he published in 1834 A History of Egyptian Mummies (having himself unrolled numerous specimens) and in 1842 the first part only of Encyclopaedia Aegyptiana.' The letter – which has an added interest for the protest it makes against the British acquisition of international antiquities – begins, clearly with reference to his presentation to her of an item of Ancient Egyptian origin: 'I cannot thank you as I ought for the autograph you have given to me; the most extraordinary of the two thousand I possess; curious from the writer, the subject, and the explanation. My reading does not furnish me with a similar example; and I am convinced, that no living man, yourself excepted, could have produced the translation of the hieroglyphics.' She explains that from her youth she has been 'an enthusiast on the subject of Egypt, its manners[,] customs, the language of its Priests, and its architecture. I have almost worshipped its temples, and its pyramids, and turned away my eyes from the Grecian architecture which succeeded them.' Striking a somewhat modern tone, she continues: 'I have looked with reverence on the Sarcophagus at the British Museum, and deplored the mistaken policy of those who tore it from its sacred depository, to expose it to the fogs of an English climate.' The only return she can give to Pettigrew's gift is her 'best thanks, and the portrait of an old woman'.