Lot 51
  • 51

AN EGYPTIAN LIMESTONE RELIEF OF MERUKA, PROPHET OF KHUFU, LATE 5TH/EARLY 6TH DYNASTY, CIRCA 2350-2250 B.C. | An Egyptian Limestone Relief of Meruka, Prophet of Khufu

100,000 - 150,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • limestone
  • 35.6 by 80 cm.
finely carved in shallow relief with the owner, Meruka, seated on a chair with bovine legs, an offering table before him, his left clenched fist held to his chest, and wearing a wrap-around kilt with broad belt, broad collar, short beard, and long wig falling to the shoulders, his face with full lips, flaring nostril, and large almond-shaped eye with tapering contoured eyebrow and cosmetic line, the three lines of inscription translating "An offering given by the King and Anubis who presides over the divine pavilion: let him be buried in the necropolis, he who is known of the King, Prophet of Khufu, wab-priest of the King, and Elder of the Hall, Meruka."


from the Mastaba of Meruka at Giza, excavated by Montague Ballard in the Winter of 1901-02
Giovanni Dattari (d. 1923), Cairo (Hôtel Drouot, Paris, Antiquités égyptiennes, grecques et romaines. Les collections de feu M. Jean Lambros d'Athenes et de M. Giovanni Dattari du Caire, Paris, 17th-19th June 1912, no. 283, pl. XXIV)
Mr. C. d'Aquin, Paris
William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951), San Simeon, California, acquired from the above on 20th June 1922 through his company International Studio Art Corporation
Parish-Watson & Co., New York, on consignment from the above
Joseph Brummer (1883-1947), New York, inv. no. N4449, acquired from the above on 2nd June 1939
Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, Part II of the Notable Art Collection Belonging to the Estate of the Late Joseph Brummer,  11th-14th May 1949, no. 64
Denys Sutton, London, acquired at the above auction
American private Collection, by descent (Sotheby's New York, 6 December 2012, no. 43, illus.)


Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, 1949-1959, loaned by Denys Sutton under loan inv. no. 14.1949 (erroneously accessioned as 1937.214)


Henry G. Fischer, "Old Kingdom Inscriptions in the Yale Gallery," Mitteilungen des Instituts für Orientforschung, vol. 7, fasc. 3, 1960, pp. 310-311, pl. II
T. Coffman, ed., The William Randolph Hearst Collection [microform]: Photographs and Acquisition Records on Microfiche, New York, 1987, book 45, entries 43-53, card 213, illus. (Egyptian antiquities)

Catalogue Note

Other reliefs from the mastaba of Meruka are in the Hildesheim Museum (inv. no. 3049), the Yale University Art Gallery (inv. no. 1937.214), and The Cleveland Museum of Art (inv. no. 1920.1994: L.M. Berman, Catalogue of Egyptian Art, The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1999, p. 133-134, also from the Ballard excavations and Lambros-Dattari sale).

Denys Miller Sutton (1917-1991) assumed the role of editor of the London-based arts magazine Apollo in 1962, and retained this position for about 25 years, during which he considerably expanded the scope of the publication, addressing sensitive art preservation issues, attracting new contributors among prominent art historians and writers, writing many articles himself, and devoting several issues to the collections of museums around the world. His strong and unrelenting interest in the visual arts was a lifelong pursuit: he served as secretary of the international commission for the restitution of cultural material after World War II, worked as an art critic for Country Life and the Financial Times, authored several books on painting, including works on Watteau, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Picasso, and Whistler, and organized several exhibitions abroad such as shows on Constable and Titian in Tokyo. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (vol. 53, Oxford, 2003, p. 382) describes him as an "astute collector of art."

The present relief is numbered as lot 105, Article 15, in the list of acquisitions made by Hearst under his company International Studio Art Corporation.