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Imhotep Statue

bookmarkCategory: RPA Historical Walking Tour
feed Stop: 3
location_on Location: Gloucester House Drive


Museum Walking Tour
RPA Museum Image: Sir Herbert Schlink and Lady Margaret Wakehurst, unveiling ceremony, 1936

This beautifully sculptured statue by Stephan Pokora is a life-size version of the statuette in the Pergamon Museum in Germany and was commissioned by Sir Herbert Schlink. Unveiled by Lady Margaret Wakehurst in November 1938, the bronze and granite statue is the only life-size version of Imhotep in the world. The ancient Egyptian physician, Imhotep, was believed to have served as the pharaoh Djoser’s (2630-2611 BCE) chief physician.

Museum Walking Tour
RPA Museum Image: Imhotep from unveiling ceremony booklet, 1936

Imhotep (ca. 2670 BCE) was an Egyptian polymath, an expert in many areas of learning, including architecture, philosophy and poetry. He is perhaps best known as the first pyramid builder and architect of King Djoser's Step Pyramid at Saqqara, and of the Temple of Horus at Edfu. Imhotep was the only Egyptian aside from Amenhotep (also known as Akhenaten, the monotheistic pharaoh) to be wholly deified, becoming the god of wisdom and medicine or, according to some sources, god of science, treatment, and architecture. It was thought the statue would be a source of inspiration to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital medical and nursing staff and comfort to incoming patients as they pass by.

Museum Walking Tour
RPA Museum Image: Gloucester House Drive

Sir Herbert Schlink, Chairman of the Board, strongly believed in beautifying hospitals by including artwork in their designs and fittings.

May the contemplation of this Statue awaken a spirit of humility, the desire for research and learning and a forgetfulness of the sordid bartering side of modern life.

Sir Herbert Schlink, 1936


Imhotep Sculpture RPA
RPA Museum Image: Imhotep statue, 2023 (in storage during hospital redevelopment)

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