Armchair Traveler

18 09 2017

The end of the Victorian era produced numerous travel journals by both scholars and Joe Adventurer, all equally suspect in terms of veracity but at least full of interesting imagery and bound in eye-catching covers. This example, Our New Way Round the World, by the colorfully surnamed Charles Carleton Coffin, was published in 1887. It is not exclusively about Egypt, but iconography from the land was chosen for the cover art. As usual, “artistic” license was taken with some, though not all, illustrations.


Town Crier

15 11 2016

I had the pleasure of visiting Centralia, Illinois this month and swung by the Sentinel Newspaper building, which is a fabulous 1920’s Egyptian Revival structure. Because my blog is solely about my collection of Egyptomania objects, you’ll have to look at other people’s photos of this building online. But here is a scan of their newspaper heading, which has now been added to my stash. “Egypt’s Greatest Daily” refers to the nickname of that region – the lower sixteen counties of Illinois are correctly called Egypt (incorrectly called Little Egypt, even by locals, who forget that this moniker refers to a hoochy-koochy dancer at the 1893 Columbian Exposition.)



9 02 2016

The Victorian era produced an unprecedented quantity of decorative crapola for the household. The golden rule of interior decoration was “if you can see an empty space, then clearly you need another tchotchke.” (I paraphrase.) Rich and poor alike demanded objets d’art – the only problem being, the less money one has to spend, the less d’art one can afford. The resulting struggle between Quality and Quantity (personified by mythological Greek goddesses, in the approved Victorian manner) resulted in Quality getting bonked on the head and stuffed in an alley while Quantity ran rampant through lower-class neighborhoods tossing flashy but bizarre objects through windows, where they landed on parlor tables, étagères, and mantels. Take this shoe, for instance – I suppose a petite porcelain model of a shoe might be quaint, especially if finished with a striking lustre hue. But reason stops there. Why are there embossed flowers and beads twining around it? Why add a painted scene of Egyptian monuments? And why would you want to stick flowers in such an ungraceful thing? Because, yes – it really was manufactured to be a vase.

039 small 041 small

Memories of a Far-Off Land

25 01 2016

This cute plastic pin featuring the Sphinx (with nose) and a pyramid is most likely a souvenir piece circa the 1940s.


Remember Me When This Pyramid You See

20 03 2015

Once upon a time there was a man named James Buchanan. He was President of the United States. Then he died, but that’s not The End. His niece donated land for a park to honor his memory, which includes a rustic stone pyramid on the site of Jame’s family home. You can read more about it here. And you can visit and compare this vintage postcard view to what you see there.

Buchanan tomb

Two-Step Under the Stars

29 12 2014

Another instrumental piece of sheet music, from 1912. Check out the ‘his’ and ‘hers’ mummy cases giving each other the eye.

Under Egyptian Skies 1912_small

A Wise Old Nut Was Old King Tut

22 12 2014

Old King Tut sheet music 1923_small

Lyrics – William Jerome
Music – Harry Von Tilzer
Publisher – Harry Von Tilzer Music Publishing Co., New York, 1923

Three thousand years ago,
In history we know,
King Tutenkhamen ruled a mighty land.
He ruled for many years,
‘Mid laughter, song and tears,
He made a record that will always stand.
They opened up his tomb the other day and jumped with glee,
They learned a lot of ancient history.

In old King Tut – Tut – Tutenkhamen’s day,
Beneath the tropic skies
King Tut-Tut-Tut was very wise
Now old King Tut – Tut – Tut was always gay,
Cleopatra she sat upon his knee
Pat! That’s where she sat.

Now old King Tut was just a nut as you can see,
Still proud was Tut about his Beechnut ancestry.
A thousand girls would dance each day,
With lots of hip-hip-hip-hooray,
In old King Tut-Tut – Tut-Tut-Tut-Tut
King Tutty’s day.

His tomb instead of tears,
Was full of souveniers,
He must have travelled greatly in his time.
The gold and silver ware,
That they found hidden there,
Was from hotels of every land and clime.
While going thru his royal robes they found up in his sleeve,
The first love letter Adam wrote to Eve.

In old King Tut – Tut – Tutenkhamen’s day,
The dancers then in style
Would even make the old Sphinx smile.
In old King Tut – Tut – Tutenkhamen’s day,
On the desert sand old King Tutty’s band
Played while maidens swayed.

They’d dance for old King Tut ‘neath moon-lit skies so warm,
They wore such happy smiles and were in perfect form,
They’d dance for him both fat and thin,
He didn’t care what shape they’re in,
In old King Tut-Tut – Tut-Tut-Tut-Tut
King Tutty’s day.

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