Analysing the English Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum

Estella Canziani and Cambridge Museums

Chris Wingfield
Researcher 'The Other Within' project

1965.9.102 Patch box donated by Canziani

1965.9.102 Patch box donated by Canziani

1965.9.131 Khol (cosmetic) bottle donated by Canziani

1965.9.131 Khol (cosmetic) bottle donated by Canziani

A letter preserved at the Pitt Rivers Museum suggests that Canziani sent material from Morocco to both the Pitt Rivers and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Her book Round Palace Green (2) also suggests that she had contacts with the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and knew A.C. Haddon and Baron von Hügel. She says she was invited by Haddon to draw some of the objects in the museum and says 'I spent a happy week, drawing in the Museum, my eyes being opened in a new direction.' Her account of her working conditions is rather amusing:

Dr. Haddon had his workroom, and Baron von Hügel worked in his. Suddenly one of them (I don't know who) invaded the other, and there was a loud argument as to the possibility of giving me tea at 11 am. I overheard the heated discussion. Tea could be provided and hot water; but there was no cow; what were they to do for milk? Could they offer any one tea without milk? Could they order a milk-can to be left daily at the Museum; if so, how much? It was a problem beyond their capacity! The porter overheard the argument; went off, bought a tin of Nestlé's milk, also some biscuits, returned to the Museum with his acquisitions, made three cups of tea, mixed milk in the cups, put biscuits on three plates, and solemnly provided each one of us with refreshment! Tea and biscuits at 11 am became a permanent institution, to which Miles Burkitt, who now has his own room, invites friends.

Canziani also suggests that she was allowed to take a large painted wooden crocodile to draw to the Burkitt's house where she was staying. She relates her anxiety but suggests that her host, Professor Burkitt took the object somewhat less seriously and dished the crocodile up for lunch, and it even appeared in bed 'dressed in a night-cap and night-gown.'

(2) p.189 

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