- Also known as
Sir Cecil Armitage
primary name: Armitage, Cecil
- individual; collector; official; British; Male
- Life dates
- 76 Jermyn Street, St James's (1915)
Manor Cottage, Rendcomb, Circencester
- Sir Cecil Hamilton Armitage, KBE, CMG, DSO. Served first as an army officer in the Gold Coast from 1895. He then became one of first two District Commissioners in Asante (the other being Wilfred Davidson-Houston, whose collection is now in Dublin). He was involved in the Ashanti wars of 1895-6 and of 1900, about which he wrote a book, 'The Ashanti Campaign of 1900, 1901', (the second part being by Arthur Montanaro). By 1906 District Commissioner for the southern district of Ashanti in Obuasi, when described as being 'deeply attached to the country, probably knowing more of the natives and their customs than any other white man' (Decima Moore [Lady Guggisberg] and F.J.Guggisberg, 'We two in West Africa', London 1909, p.172). In 1911-20 he became the Chief Commissioner of the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast. From 1920-1927 he was governor of Gambia, after which he retired. For his account of these years see ‘The Gambia Colony and Protectorate’ in the 'Journal of the Royal Society of Arts', Vol. 76, (22 June 1928), pp. 810-818.
He formed large collections throughout his time in Ghana and Gambia. He gave groups of Ghanaian material to the BM in 1915 (Af1915,1021.1 to 103) and 1919 (Af1919,1220.1 to 53), and other pieces from Gambia in 1924 (Af1924,0607.1 to 37). On his retirement he formed his own small museum which he displayed at home. According to Donne (p.91), on his death in 1933 some pieces were sold to the British Museum, but ‘the remainder was sold sight unseen to Mrs Cockin for £100, as a result of a chance encounter with a dealer; the dealer had been on the point of putting all the woodwork on the bonfire in despair at not being able to sell it (Donne, p.91). The Cockins' collection descended to their daughter Celia Barclay (qv). Much of the Maurice Cockin/Celia Barclay collection was acquired by the BM in 1978 and 1984 (qqv).
- J.B.Donne, ‘The Celia Barclay collection of African art’, The Connoisseur, 180 1972, pp.88-95.
(as author) C H Armitage, 'The tribal markings and marks of adornment of the natives in the northern territories of the Gold Coast colony', London 1924