On Monday, 4 November I went to visit the Tutankhamen exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London.
I travelled by train from Newark Northgate station to London King’s Cross which was no problem. I was hoping it was going to be on one of the new Azuma trains but it was still the same old usual ones. From King’s Cross, we then got in a black cab to take us to the Saatchi Gallery which wasn’t too far away. Luckily my Powerchair can fit in the back of a black cab but only sideways as there is not enough room to face backwards and get clamped down. It’s not ideal but I don’t have much choice really. It’s that or walking/rolling and probably getting lost.
The Saatchi Gallery
The Saatchi Gallery is a contemporary art gallery in the Chelsea area of London. There are a few restaurants nearby so it was possible to have a bite to eat before going in. At the entrance, there are a few steps but there was a ramp at the side of it so I could get in with no problem. There was a long queue of people to get in but I was able to skip the queue, naturally.
I was able to buy a concession ticket for myself (£24.20) and a free “companion” ticket both online via Ticketmaster, which was great. No problems there.
The exhibition’s full name is “Tutankhamen: Treasures of the golden Pharaoh” and brings together 150 artefacts that were found in his tomb in 1922. This is 3 times as many artefacts than have gone on tour in previous exhibitions, and some of the exhibits have never been out of Egypt before.
The exhibition is spread over 6 galleries on 2 floors. Lifts are available for wheelchair users to use.
Before we went into the exhibition there was a video on a big curved screen about how Howard Carter came to discover the tomb. The video had subtitles which was great to see. I usually can’t understand speech if there are no subtitles in videos because of my hearing loss so this was very welcome.
Smaller video screens were placed around the exhibition providing further information, also with subtitles. \o/
The artefacts are beautiful; lots of gold as you might expect, exquisitely carved statues gilded in gold leaf, beautiful wooden storage boxes and furniture with intricate decoration that looked like they could have been made yesterday, let alone 3000 years ago.
Everything is mind mind-bogglingly well preserved even after three millennia.
My favourite piece was a life-size statue of the pharaoh’s spirit (which they called the ka) stood in a striding pose with one foot placed in front of the other, with a stick in hand, as he makes his way through the afterlife.
As well as all the artefacts there was a virtual reality experience at the end where you can virtually enter Tutankhamen’s tomb. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to do this because I had to go back to the train station. But it does look quite interesting.
A large giftshop had all things Tutankhamen for sale ranging from T-shirts and fridge magnets to novelty Egyptian hats. There were even a couple of limited edition books for sale for the bargain price of £2000!
So what is my verdict on this exhibition? I thought it was fantastic. Much bigger and better than the Tutankhamen exhibition I have been to before and I think that you should definitely go and see it.
The only problem was that it was quite busy so at times it was difficult to get a clear view of some of the pieces as people were crowding around them. However, you can spend as much time as you like in the exhibition so there is no rush.
The exhibition is running until 3rd May 2020 so if you do want to go and have a look at the beautiful treasures you have 6 months to do so.
After this, you will have to go to Egypt if you want to see any of King Tut’s stuff. They are building a brand-new Museum in Cairo which will house the entire Tutankhamen collection in one place.
I’m sure it will be incredible to see.
Click here if you want to buy tickets for Tutankhamen: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh