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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 September, 2003, 13:41 GMT 14:41 UK
Museum secures rare Egyptian sculpture
There are only two similar exhibits in the world
An Egyptian sculpture more than 3,000 years old will be on permanent display in the North West after Bolton Council secured funds to buy it.

The 3,300-year-old statuette was offered by a local private collector to Bolton museum to add to its existing Egyptology collection.

The 440,000 price was reached thanks to the National Arts Collection Fund, the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Friends of Bolton Museum and Art Gallery.

The 52cm high sculpture is carved in translucent Egyptian alabaster and is believed to be one of the daughters of the Pharaoh Akhenaten and his chief queen, Nefertiti.

Important treasure

Only two similar pieces are believed to exist - one is in the Louvre in Paris and the other in a museum in Philadelphia.

Councillor Laurie Williamson, Bolton Council's Executive Member for Culture, said: "This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to secure an important Egyptian treasure."

The sculpture was bought and brought to Bolton by the owner's great grandfather in 1892 at a sale of the contents of Silverton Park in Devon, the home of the 4th Earl of Egremont.

It will be on display from 23 October until 14 January 2004 at the Hayward Gallery, South Bank Centre, London.

The sculpture will be part an exhibition celebrating the centenary of the National Arts Collection Fund, which saves artworks for the nation.

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