This standing figure would have been a funerary offering for the burial of a priest or high official. Sensitively carved with the soft lines typical of Late Period sculpture, it shows the deceased wearing the 'Persian wrap' over an undergarment with one knotted strap over the left shoulder. This long kilt tied with a knot below the chest and covering the entire body down to the ankles became very common in Egypt from the end of the Saite Period, which was followed by the first period of Achaemenid Persian rule over Egypt (525-404 B.C.) - hence the name. However, both the Persian wrap and the undergarment with shoulder strap continue to appear in funerary sculpture until the Ptolemaic Period. For a description of the different dresses used in male sculpture from the Late Period, cf. O. Perdu, Les statues privées de la fin de l’Égypte pharaonique, vol. I, Paris, 2012, pp. 50-53, fig. 25. The back pillar is inscribed with one vertical column of hieroglyphs reading: “Praised by his father, devoted to his mother, pleasing among his siblings, Pediamun".
Professor Sir William Coldstream CBE (1908-1987) was a highly influential figure in the London art world during a career that spanned several decades as a figurative painter and arts educationalist. Son of a doctor, he was born in Belford, Northumberland, before the family moved to north west London, where he grew up. Knighted for his Services to the art world, in 1956, having played a leading role in arts administration, he went on to reform British art schools through the two Coldstream Reports whose advisory committees he chaired. As head of the Slade School of Fine Art (1949-1975) he was associated with a movement that advocated a return to figurative painting from direct observation. Building on a strong sense of realism, developed through his years as a documentary filmmaker at the GPO Film Unit, where he worked closely with his friends Benjamin Britten and WH Auden in the 1930s, he founded what became known as the Euston Road School of Painting and Drawing, with colleagues Claude Rogers and Victor Pasmore. Appointed an official War Artist, he was later a Trustee of the National Gallery (1948-63) and of the Tate Gallery (1949-63) and a director of the Royal Opera House (1957-62) and chairman of the British Film Institute (1964-71).