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Carter, Howard (1874 – 1939)

Carter’s heavily annotated chapter from The Tomb of Tutankhamun, ‘Strange and beautiful objects call for wonder…’

Howard Carter’s annotated typescript for “The Annexe,” the third chapter from his classic work, The Tomb of Tutankhamun: Volume III, ten pages, 8.5″ x 11″, circa 1933, unsigned but featuring copious revisions and annotations by Carter in fountain-pen ink and pencil, with the reverse of the fifth page and the final page containing autograph fragments, and the reverse of the ninth page bearing two pencil sketches of the tomb complex.

‘The Annexe’, in the third and final volume of The Tomb of Tutankhamun, describes the exciting moment in which Carter’s party enters this pivotal section of the tomb. Carter explains the confusion of the Annexe after months spent working in the Antechamber, Burial chamber, and the Innermost Recess. He describes the room as ‘a jumble of every kind of funerary chattel’ left by earlier grave-robbers, noting that the “history of this little room may have been unfortunate, but romantic. There was something bewildering, yet interesting, in the scene which lay before us.’ He expounds on the excavation process of ‘three-hundred-odd pieces of antiquity’, ultimately leading to one very important discovery, ‘that two separate thefts of quite different nature had taken place in that little apartment’ within a few years of the burial. Carter offers conclusions about the nature of the robberies, gives a reconstruction of the sequence of events that defined the filling and sealing of the Annexe, and on the reverse of the ninth page, Carter adds two overhead pencil sketches of the tomb complex. In fine condition, with binder holes to the left edges.

On November 26nd 1922, after five years of largely unrewarded excavations in the Valley of the Kings, Howard Carter finally managed to obtain the first glimpse of site KV62, the Tomb of Tutankhamun, and become the first man to enter the burial chamber of the great king since ancient times. The clearing of the tomb took many years — Carter’s meticulous cataloguing of the thousands of objects contained inside was not completed until 1932 — and the annex, which was originally used to store oils, ointments, scents, foods and wine, was the last room to be cleared. Although small in size, it contained approximately 280 groups of objects, totalling more than 2,000 individual pieces. Also found within the annexe chamber were 26 jars containing wine residue. A magnificent and heavily annotated typed draft that chronicles the work undertaken by Carter and crew between October 1927 and the spring of 1928.

Provenance: Bonhams: Carter Family, June 12, 2012, Part of Lot 39.