- 1907-1908 (Creation)
- 1896 (Creation)
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Name of creator
Born, London, 1863. Died, Tonbridge, Kent, 1946. Physician and surgeon. Doctor to the 8th Duke of Devonshire, Spencer Cavendish, visited Egypt on two occasions, the first in 1896 as an independent traveller and the second time was 1907-1908 when Platt accompanied the Duke of Devonshire, acting as his physician.
In possession of the Platt family, by descent.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Donated by Ferdinand Platt's great-nephew Julian Platt in November 2022. Dr Toby Wilkinson was instrumental in the negotiations for the donation.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Ferdinand (Ferdy) Platt's correspondence relates to two excursions to Egypt, in 1896 and 1907-1908.
- First group: eighteen letters and postcards, sent during Platt's first independent visit to Egypt in early 1896, when he initially travelled with a friend. Dating between 26 January and 19 April, the letters are addressed to Platt's mother. They record meeting Flinders Petrie and other notables.
- Second group: thirty-one letters sent during Platt's second trip to Egypt in 1907-1908, when he accompanied the eighth Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, their relations Lord and Lady Gosford with their daughter Lady Theo, Sir Charles Cradock-Hartopp. Dating between 4 November 1907 and 8 February 1908, they are addressed to Platt's wife, Mabel (May). They record Platt's encounters with Winston Churchill, Alan Gardiner, James Quibell, George Reisner, Archibald Sayce and Arthur Weigall, among others. The letters also mention a meeting with Howard Carter when the latter was still earning a living as an artist, producing paintings for tourists; the letters provide important insights into Carter's life just before he began his partnership with Lord Carnarvon.
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Kept as received.
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Property of the Griffith Institute. No restrictions.
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Copyright Griffith Institute, University of Oxford.
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These are originals.
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Related units of description
- Letters from the second Egypt excursion in 1907-1908: Wilkinson, Toby and Julian Platt 2017. Aristocrats and archaeologists: an Edwardian journey on the Nile. Cairo; New York: The American University in Cairo Press [https://aucpress.com/product/aristocrats-and-archaeologists/ (accessed 06/03/2023)].
- Originally kept in a bespoke box made for Ferdinand Platt's daughter, Violet, and decorated with painted Egyptian scenes and hieroglyphic inscriptions. The following inscriptions were composed by Platt, and his translation is contained within a letter placed in the box.
- Year 13 month 8 day 30 under the Majesty of George, fifth of that name. Says the physician Ferdinand, "Behold, I have painted this box with my own hand for my daughter whom I love, Violet. I did this in order that my memory may remain firm in the heart of my daughter and that my name may be in her mouth."
- Behold, this box belongs to the maiden Violet. Her mother was the mistress of the house Mabel; her father the physician Ferdinand. He says, "I have spoken with words of magical power over this box. If anyone injures it or damages the writing upon it, my curse shall reach them wherever they may be."
- See Wilkinson and Platt 2017, p. 4.
- The box is in the possession of the Platt family.
- Photograph: Dr Ferdinand Platt with his wife May (left) and her sister Lily (right), at home in London, 18 Hall Road NW8. © Julian Platt and the Platt family. Published: Wilkinson, Toby and Julian Platt 2017. Aristocrats and archaeologists: an Edwardian journey on the Nile. Cairo; New York: The American University in Cairo Press.
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