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date: 19 October 2019

Layard, Sir Austen Henrylocked

(b Paris, March 5, 1817; d London, July 5, 1894).
  • Jaynie Anderson

Extract

(b Paris, March 5, 1817; d London, July 5, 1894).

English archaeologist, politician, diplomat, collector and writer. From his boyhood in Florence, where he grew up in the Palazzo Rucellai and knew Seymour Kirkup (1788–1880) and Walter Savage Landor (1775–1864), he was inspired by a love of Italian art and culture. He returned to England at the age of 12 and, unable to go to university, was apprenticed as a solicitor from 1833 to 1839. He continued to pursue his Italian studies informally, however, and contemplated writing a history of Italy. In 1839 he interrupted an overland journey to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to visit ancient archaeological sites in remote and dangerous areas of Turkey, Iraq and Iran, where he copied cuneiform inscriptions and Assyrian reliefs, described in his Early Adventures (1887). From 1842 he was employed in Constantinople (now Istanbul) by Sir Stratford Canning on various diplomatic missions.

In 1845 Layard began his first systematic archaeological work (...

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