The following document shows extracts from the Sotheby's sale catalogue for 24 July 1861 marked with some items 'acquired by Col. Fox', and the prices he paid for them. The catalogue is held in the British Library, we are very grateful to Cliff Thornton for preparing this list for us.

Ethnological and Miscellaneous Portion of the Museum of the Royal United Service Institution
Whitehall Yard
Egyptian, Etruscan, Mexican, Greek Roman and other specimens,
Some very curious South American and Mexican vases,
Various objects illustrative of the manners and customs of the New Zealanders,
Important articles of Jade,
Indian and Persian Antiquities,
Many Chinese and Miscellaneous Articles,
And some very rare, important and interesting sepulchral tablets,
Assyrian and Persipolitan Sculpture,
Very large and important Burmese Bronze Image of Buddha.

Egyptian, Etruscan, Mexican, Greek Roman and other specimens, 37 Lots

South American and Mexican vases,10 Lots

Indian and Persian Antiquities, 54 Lots

Col. Fox 1-0-0 Lot 51 An Adighias stick (facsimile of Chobda’s silver stick); A pair of Fly flappers; 5 small Burmese bells on stand [1884.107.1-9]; Three others [as above]; Fragments from Burmese temple

Col. Fox 1-2-0 Lot 87 A small Indian Vase with 2 handles engraved with ornaments and flowers inlaid, on stand with shade.

Col. Fox 0-3-0 Lot 96 Model of a bullock cart, and models of cruelty and torture and manner of putting to death by Thugs.

New Zealand 5 Lots (103 – 107)

Chinese 26 Lots (108-133)

Col. Fox 1-13-0 Lot 125 A Chinese Bronze Laver on wooden stand, and waterbucket.

Miscellaneous 68 Lots (134-201)

Col. Fox 0-10-0 Lot 156 Portrait of Boadicea, Queen of Britain AD 200 curiously carved in ebony in frame.

Col. Fox 0-3-0 Lot 174 A large model of South African “Buck Logie”, or hut,the interior furnished with specimens of the usual appurtenances and a small model of a Swiss Cottage.

Col. Fox 1-16-0 Lot 179 A Chinese Wooden Harmonicon, arranged in the Key of F consisting of a frame and 18 pieces of bamboo.

Col. Fox 1-18-0 Lot 180 A Bellaphon, or Harmonicon used by the Mandingo nation, similar in form to the preceding, but with the addition of calabashes underneath. [1884.110.38]

The ones that are not matched to PRM accession numbers cannot be matched to entries on the PRM collections database; the current whereabouts of these objects is unknown - they may have been retained by the Pitt-Rivers family, they may be in the Pitt Rivers Museum but never catalogued or accessioned.

Cliff also writes:

Given above are the details of the 8 lots purchased by Colonel Fox at the auction of material from the RUSI museum in 1861. Having looked through several years of Sotheby auction catalogues, it is worth putting this auction into context. By far the majority of auctions held by Sothebys were the sale of private libraries, sometimes including a few manuscripts. I would estimate that around 1860, approximately 80% of Sothebys auctions were devoted to the sale of such libraries. The sale of collections of coins and medals made up another 15%. The remaining 5% being sales of fine and decorative arts, principally prints and engravings. So the appearance of a collection of ethnological items was quite unique.

It is possible that the material in this sale may have been from the reorganisation which the RUSI museum had recently undergone.
In 1858, the displays were reorganised into four separate sections; military, naval, ethnological and natural history. Whilst this reorganisation was under way, an opportunity was taken for a spring-clean, and the annual report for 1858 records - "The Museum has been entirely dismantled. The cellars and garrets, which were filled with a mass of heterogeneous articles, principally duplicates, have been cleared out: some of these had been there for upwards of twenty years, and consisted of books, skins of birds, geological specimens and miscellaneous articles from various countries." In 1861 the museum decided that it should cease collecting natural history
specimens and these were disposed of. The auction of this material has yet to be found.

Cliff Thornton 11 November 2012

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