Plan of the Mausoleum Room
The British Museum, London, England, AD 1882
Designed to store one of the Wonders of the World
In 1856 the British Museum acquired most of the remains of the Mausoleum of Halikarnassos, one of the 'Seven Wonders of the Ancient World'. Owing to a lack of space, this material had to be displayed in temporary wooden sheds on the Colonnade, where it remained for more than twenty-five years.
In 1882 a new gallery, the Mausoleum Room, was completed. It was designed by the architect John Taylor, and built in an open space alongside the main gallery in the West Wing (the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery). Taylor had just finished the Museum's new White Wing. Both building projects had been paid for with money from the William White Bequest, received in 1879.
The Mausoleum Room was a fine room with a flight of stairs at each end. It remained unaltered for about eighty years. During the late 1960s it was remodelled: the floor was raised to create a much needed public lecture theatre in the basement and the remaining gallery space was divided into new exhibition areas.
M. Caygill, The story of The British Museu (London, The British Museum Press, 1998)
M. Caygill and C. Date, Building the British Museum (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)
I. Jenkins, Archaeologists and aesthetes (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)