True of Voice: The Royal Butler Ramessesemperre

Dara Mayers - 07/25/2019

egyptian relief


We are excited to share recent acquisitions from the estate of the late Louis and Hilaire Beck. Louis was a prominent New York lawyer who served as the treasurer of the NY State Democratic Committee from 1963 to 1970. He and his wife Hilaire were true devotees of ancient Egyptian art, and created a collection of remarkable beauty and power.

One important piece is an imposing, dramatic, finely carved New Kingdom limestone relief honoring the Royal Butler Ramessesemperre, who was "true of voice, and in peace." Ramessesemperre was a known personage of the 19th to 20th dynasty, attested to by at least nine other monuments. In this museum-quality relief he can be seen presenting a hawk-headed incense burner to Osiris, to ensure safe passage into the afterlife. His profile is both noble and pious, delicate and powerful. A similar, slightly smaller relief of the Royal Butler is held at the Brooklyn Museum.

The Beck relief, similar in both size and quality, is finely inscribed with 7 vertical lines of inscription:

"The Osiris, the royal butler Ramessesemperre, true of voice and in peace. He says: ‘Hail to you, O chief of the gods, Wennefer, ruler of the living!' May he give bread, a cool breeze, and incense to the Osiris, the royal butler Ramessesemperre, true of voice." 

A similarly composed relief of a lesser known figure, from the same period, sold recently at Sotheby's far above the asking price.

We are honored to share this remarkable example of timeless art with you. See below for links to two other pieces from this world-class collection. Call to make an appointment to view additional objects in person.

egyptian relief 


Dara Mayers, Associate Director


Howard Nowes Ancient Art
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