- Also known as
Edwin Henry Lawrence
primary name: Lawrence, Edwin Henry
- individual; collector; merchant/tradesman; British; Male
- Life dates
- Edwin Henry Lawrence F.S.A (1819-91), the great-nephew of the Regency-period society painter Sir Thomas Lawrence, was a successful London-based stockbroker. He amassed a considerable collection of Egyptian and Cypriot antiquities, but also acquired numerous paintings and manuscripts, during his lifetime. The Cypriot antiquities were mostly collected or excavated on Cyprus between 1876 and 1878 by his future son-in-law Alessandro Palma di Cesnola, largely with a view to turning a profit on the sale of the antiquities. (Some of the Cypriot material in fact originated in the collection of Alessandro's brother Luigi who had left Cyprus in 1876.) Lawrence's artistic and antiquarian interests led him to be elected as a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries as early as 1866.
Lawrence sponsored the publication of an expensive photographic record of his Cypriot artefacts (two editions, 1880 and 1881) as well as Alessandro's popular description of his collection, Salaminia (1882), with several subsequent editions in the United States and Italy). Attempts to sell the Cypriot collection entire to the British Museum and South Kensington Museum proving unsuccessful, he disposed of almost 14,000 items at Sotheby's between 1883 and 1888. A fourth lot was sold in 1892, the year after his death. The British Museum acquired numerous items, largely from Cyprus and Egypt, during this time. (Some were sold by private treaty, others through dealers who bought at the various Sotheby's sales. Not every item in the Lawrence-Cesnola collection originated in Cyprus however.)
Material from these sales can be found in numerous other museums, either from the original sale or by descent through purchasers and dealers (the latter of whom are named in the annotated copies of the catalogues in the library of the GR Department and in the British Library). Items that entered the First Pitt Rivers collection can still be found in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, though most of his purchases from the Lawrence-Cesnola sales were part of his now dispersed Second Collection.
- Hetherington P. 2000, 'The "Larnaka Tympanum" and its origins", RDAC, 361-79, esp. 373-4.
Masson O. 1996, 'La dispersion des antiquités chypriotes au XIXe siècle: les deux collections Cesnola', CCEC 25, 3-21.
Masson O. 1996, 'Les deux collections Cesnola: quelques compléments', CCEC 26, 25-8.
Petch A. et al. , Rethinking Pitt-Rivers. [Included much information on the material acquired by Pitt-Rivers at the Lawrence-Cesnola sales]