Grave of Sarah Belzoni

Grave of Sarah Belzoni

Sarah Bane thought to have been born in Bristol in 1873 and died St Helier, Jersey the 12th January 1870 and pictured above is her grave at Mont a l’Abbé cemetery. Sarah married Italian born Giovanni Battista Belzoni 1778-1823  One of the most colorful personages in the annals of early 19th century exploration in Egypt, Belzoni trained as an engineer, then becoming a barber in the Netherlands where he fled in 1803 to England to avoid going to jail. There he married Sarah and for a short time they became street entertainers and joined a circus, Giovanni at 6 foot 7 inches did a strong man act  .

Belzoni went to Egypt in 1815, intending to build hydraulic irrigation systems for Muhammad Ali, the Pasha of Egypt. To arrange introductions, he contacted the former French consul at Alexandria, Bernardino Drovetti, who had served in Napoleon’s military. Belzoni at length, however, abandoned his hydraulic project, since local farmers and officials were reluctant to abandon long-held, traditional methods of oxen-drawn irrigation machinery.

Giovanni Belzoni

Giovanni Belzoni

Belzoni, who had explored much of the Nile region by then, turned to the collection of antiquities on commission. In this, he was often in competition with the collection agents of Drovetti. Among other accomplishments, Belzoni mapped the passageways and tombs in a Giza pyramid, as described in his book, Recent Discoveries in Egypt.  In 1818 he transported many Egyptian sculptures, including a large head of Ramesses II, to England. These remain in the British Museum collections. Belzoni’s exploits are chronicled in a book by Brian Fagan, The Rape of the Nile.

After Giovanni’s death in 1828 Sarah went to live in Brussels. She received donations fran several masonic lodges, the Duke of Sussex, and the Duke of Sussex, and a subscription fund was set up and chaired by the publisher John Murray, after much lobbying she a Civil List pension of £100 in 1851 ” In considerationof the services rendered to science by the researches of her late husband the celebrated African traveller, and of her own circumstances. In trust to Thomas W. Waller, Esq., and Simon Salter Esq.” In 1857 she moved to the Channel Islands and appears on the 1861 census in Guernsey living at New Place, St Peter Port as a a boarder of Mrs Harriet Ozanne. In Jersey she lived and died at Hautbois Gardens, Bellozane. Two days before her death she wrote a will leaving her possessions to her God-daughter Selina Belzoni Tucker from Cheltenham. Local research of the Jersey details was undertaken by Societe Jersiaise Librarian Anna Baghiani.
Sources and further reading:

http://www.egyptianlondon.co.uk/page48.html#Belzoni_Sarah

https://www.academia.edu/1466482/Sarah_Belzoni_some_new_additional_biographical_notes

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