Sir Henry Ernest Gascoyne Bulwer (Biographical details)

Sir Henry Ernest Gascoyne Bulwer (government/regional authority; collector; British; Male; 1836 - 1914)

Also known as

Bulwer, Henry Ernest Gascoyne


High Commissioner of Cyprus (1886-1892) with archaeological interests, several items of whose collection were acquired by the Museum.

Sir Henry Ernest Gascoyne Bulwer, GCMG came from a Norfolk gentry family based at Heydon near Norwich. He was the nephew of the novellist and politician Edward Lord Lytton, author of 'The last days of Pompeii'. After his education at Charterhouse and Trinity College, Cambridge, he entered the diplomatic service. First serving as private secretary to his uncle Lord Dalling and Bulwer (q.v.), he had positions in the Ionian islands and in the East and West Indies. He was Lieutenant Governor of Natal in southern Africa from 1875-80 and 1882-5 (also serving as Special Commissioner for Zulu affairs) where he acquired a reputation as a humanitarian. According to Markides (2014, 17-18), however, he was not an effective administrator or decision maker and was blamed for the instability of the region during his term of office.

As High Commissioner for Cyprus (1886-92) he banned private archaeological excavations in 1887, restricting them to public bodies undertaking scientific research. This led directly to the to the creation of the Cyprus Exploration Fund in 1887. He also reformed the Cyprus Museum by restructuring its management and making it more accoubtable to the government. Much of his own large collection of antiquities and ethnographic material was later donated to Cambridge University, where they are now preserved at the Fitzwilliam Museum and Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology respectively (Karageorghis et al. 1999 passim; Papademetriou 2000, 108-114). Some items remains within the family however, including several Hellenistic necklaces later sold to the Museum by Rosemary Webb (q.v.) and the so-called Bulwer Tablet which was acquired at the sale of the contents of Heydon Hall by the Rev. Hall around 1949.


Goring E. 1988, A mischievous pastime. Digging in Cyprus in the Nineteenth century (Edinburgh: National Museums of Scotland).

Karageorghis V., Vassilika E. and Wilson P. 2000, The art of ancient Cyprus in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Nicosia: A.G. Leventis Foundation).

Kiely T. and Merrillees R.S. 2012, 'The archaeological interests of Samuel Brown, Government Engineer, and his circle of acquaintances in late 19th century Cyprus', Cahiers du Centre dā€™Études Chypriotes 42, 245-72 (see pp. 261-3).

Markides D. 2014, Sendall in Cyprus 1892-1898. A governor in bondage (Nicosia: Moufflon Books).

Merrillees, R.S. 2000, 'Max Ohnefalsch-Richter and the British' in P. Åström and D. Sürenhagen (eds), Periplus. Festschrift für Hans-Gunter Buchholz zu seinem achtzigen Geburtstag am 24 Dezember 1999 (Jonsered: P. Åström), 107ā€“17 (see pp. 112-13).

Papademetriou E. 2000, Cypriot ethnographic collections in British Museums (Nicosia).

Summary of education and career in Alumni Cantabrigienses (online version):

Memorials in Saints Peter and Paul church in Haydon, Norfolk []