1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Wilkinson, Sir John Gardner

20745041911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 28 — Wilkinson, Sir John Gardner

WILKINSON, SIR JOHN GARDNER (1797–1875), English traveller and Egyptologist, was born on the 5th of October 1797, the son of the Rev. John Wilkinson, a well-known student of antiquarian subjects. Having inherited a sufficient income from his parents, who died when he was young, he was sent by his guardian to Harrow in 1813, and to Exeter College, Oxford, in 1816. He took no degree, and, suffering from ill-health, went to Italy, where he met Sir William Gell, and resolved to study Egyptology. Between 1821 and 1833 he travelled widely in the Nile Valley and began to publish the results. He returned to England in 1833 for the sake of his health, was elected fellow of the Royal Society in 1834, published The Topography of Thebes and General Survey of Egypt (1835) and Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians (3 vols., 1837), and on the 26th of August 1839 was knighted by the Melbourne ministry. In 1842 he returned to Egypt and contributed to the Journal of the Geographical Society an article entitled “Survey of the Valley of the Natron Lakes.” This appeared in 1843, in which year he also published an enlarged edition of his Topography, entitled Moslem Egypt and Thebes, a work afterwards reissued in Murray's series. During 1844 he travelled in Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, an account of his observations being published in 1848 (Dalmatia and Montenegro, 2 vols.). A third visit to Egypt in 1848–1849 resulted in a further article in the Journal, “On the Country between Wady Halfah and Jebel Berkel” (1851); in 1855 he again visited Thebes. Subsequently he investigated Cornish antiquities, and studied zoology. He died at Llandovery on the 29th of October 1875. To his old school, Harrow, he had already in 1864 presented his collections with an elaborate catalogue.

Besides the works mentioned he published Materia Hieroglyphica (Malta, 1828); Extracts from several Hieroglyphical Subjects (1830); Topographical Survey of Thebes (1830); facsimile of the Turin papyrus (1851), previously edited without the writing on the back of the papyrus by Lepsius; Architecture of Ancient Egypt (1850); A Popular Account of the Ancient Egyptians (1854); important notes in Rawlinson’s Herodotus; Colour and Taste (1858); articles in archaeological and scientific periodicals.