Northampton museum may sell £2m found Egyptian statue

Statue of Sekhemka
Image caption The limestone figure stands at 76cm (30in) high

A museum in Northampton is considering selling a limestone Egyptian statue after it was valued at £2m during a recent insurance inspection.

The statue of Sekhemka, a court official, has now been removed from the Central Museum and placed into secure storage at an undisclosed destination.

The town's borough council is looking to use money from a sale to invest in other local heritage projects.

A spokesman said the artefact "doesn't help tell the story of the town".

The statue's future will be considered by a cabinet meeting in September.

Councillor Brandon Eldred, cabinet member for community engagement, said: "We are really proud of everything in our museum collection and want to do even more to attract visitors to the town.

"Displaying it in a way that would do it justice would be a challenge, so we're considering selling to a museum with more of a focus on Egyptology and putting the money towards things more central to our local collections."

It is thought the statue was acquired by Spencer Compton, the second Marquis of Northampton, during a trip to Egypt in 1850 and presented to the museum by his son 20 years later.

"This statue doesn't help to tell the story of the town's history," said Mr Eldred.

"Delapre Abbey is our key heritage project and this money would give it a real boost, as well as giving us the opportunity to invest more in our nationally-recognised shoe and leather heritage collection."

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