- c. 1815-1820s (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
British classical archaeologist and traveller; he was born in Hopton, Derbyshire, 1 April 1777, son of Philip G. and Dorothy Milnes; he studied at Jesus College, Cambridge, BA, 1798; MA, 1804; Fellow of Emmanuel College; he studied art at the Royal Academy Schools; he visited the Troad, 1801, and published Topography of Troy, 1804; from 1804 he travelled for some years in Greece, publishing a number of works on the topography and antiquities of the area; he was sent on an archaeological mission to Ionia by the Society of Diletttanti, 1811-3; he was knighted in 1814; he accompanied Princess (later Queen) Caroline to Italy, 1814, and was at the centre of the scandals involving the queen at this time; from 1820 until his death he lived in Rome and Naples; he was very interested in the progress of hieroglyphic decipherment and corresponded with Young, Salt, and Champollion on the subject and encouraged Wilkinson to take up the study of Egyptian antiquities; FRS; FSA; he died in Naples, 4 Feb. 1836; three of his note-books on hieroglyphs are in the Griffith Institute.
Gell's notebooks and sketchbooks relating to his travels were bequeathed to his friend, the Hon. Richard Keppel Craven, who received them after his death at Naples in 1836. When Keppel Craven's died in 1851, his papers, including those of Gell, were presented to his Italian secretary, Pasquini, who later disposed of them apart from those notebooks bequeathed by Gell to the British Museum (see below, Related units of description). The ancient Egypt-related notebooks were acquired by Sir Alan H. Gardiner (1879–1963) sometime before 1951.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Presented by Sir Alan H. Gardiner (1879–1963) between 1951 and 1952.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Three notebooks containing Gell's copies of hieroglyphic inscriptions from objects and publications, also drawings (some coloured) of objects seen by Gell in museums and private collections.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
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Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Property of the Griffith Institute.
Conditions governing reproduction
Copyright Griffith Institute, Oxford
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
- Typewritten catalogue listing material relevant to the TopBib.
- R. Moss notebook B.16.
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
- The portrait of Sir William Gell, illustrated here, is in the British Museum [2019,5003.1]. © The Trustees of the British Museum.
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