- Also known as
Claude Delaval Cobham
primary name: Cobham, Claude Delaval
- individual; official; British; Male
- Life dates
- Villa Claudia, Larnaca, Cyprus (in 1908)
- British colonial official in Cyprus from 1878 down to his retirement in 1908, serving as as District Commissioner of Larnaca from 1879. He presented various Cypriot antiquities to the British Museum between 1880 and 1898, some found during development work by the government, others acquired more casually or through looting by the local population. More importantly Cobham oversaw a series of small-scale excavations conducted by Max Ohnefalsh-Richter (q.v.) on behalf of the Charles Newton, Keeper of Greek and Roman Antiquities. He occasionally corresponded on behalf of the Cypriot antiquarian Demetrius Pierides (q.v.).
He became one of the leading antiquarians on Cyprus and, using his command of numerous local languages, he was one of the first scholars to attempt to systematise the study of the island's documentary history in his 'Excepta Cypria. Materials for a history of Cyprus' (Cambridge University Press, 1908; reprinted in ). His extensive library was donated to the Royal Empire Society and is now in the University of Cambridge. His collection of antiquities was donated by his nephew to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter.
- Obituary in The Times 3 June 1915
Primary archival sources in BM:
Central Archives, Book of Presents Supplementary vol. 1, letter of 11 September 1882
GR Excavations in Cyprus: Correspondence, letter of 8 November 1893 (and passim for other mentions of him)
GR Original Letters, 1886-1903 passim.
GR Letter Books 1880-1907 passim.
ME Correspondence 1868-1881, nos dated 6 March 1881.
See list in Tatton-Brown 2001, 178, 'Cobham, Claude Delaval'
Kiely T. 2010, 'Charles Newton and the archaeology of Cyprus', CCEC 40, 231-51.
Merrillees R. 2005, 'Towards a fuller history of the Cyprus Museum', CCEC 35 (Hommages à Veronica Tatton-Brown),
[Useful summary of Cobham's career on p. 192-3]
Ohnefalsch-Richter M. 1891, Ancient places of worship in Kypros (Berlin)
[This is essentially the first section of his larger 1893 book, but the Introduction (pp. i-x) includes useful biographical details omitted from the later volume].
Ohnefalsch-Richter M. 1893, Kypros, the Bible and Homer. Oriental civilization, art and religion in ancient times (London).
Tatton-Brown, V. 2001, 'Excavations in ancient Cyprus: original manuscripts and correspondence in the British Museum', in V. Tatton-Brown ed., Cyprus in the 19th Century AD. Fact, fancy and fiction (Oxford), 168-83.