After a restoration and modernisation process that lasted for three years and cost some EGP50 million, the
The museum is housed in a small but sumptuous palace that was once the home of the Princess Fatma Zahraa’ Haidar Fadel, who was born in 1903. Fatma’s mother was Zeinab Fahmy; she was the sister of the architect Ali Fahmy who played a part in designing the palace along with the Italian architect Antonio Laciac. Building began in 1919 and the palace was completed in 1923.
Princess Fatma was educated in a French-managed convent. In 1930 she married Mohamed Fayek Yegen and they had three children—Fadel, and the twins Fayez and Fayza who passed away in Fatma’s lifetime.
The palace was the family’s summer residence until the 1952 Revolution, when all royal possessions were sequestrated. Since there was no authority to dispose of the acquisitions, the princess was allowed to stay on at the palace. In 1964 she left the palace to reside in
The palace was built in the classical style on an area of 4,185sq.m. that includes the surrounding gardens. It comprises two wings linked by a gallery on each side of which are five Italian-made stained-glass doors. The drawings were designed in 1923 by an Italian artist from
The gallery ceiling was again painted by Italian artists and influenced by Renaissance-style scenes from classical mythology and of everyday pastoral scenes. The ceramic mosaics of the floor are laid in geometric shapes with inlaid botanical drawings inspired by 17th century baroque art and influenced by the 18th century rococo.
The first floor hall reflects Greek culture and includes eight fresoes which depict the legend of Odyseus.
Among the numerous statues in the palace is a bronze by the 19th century French sculptor Jean Baptiste Carpeaux, of a small boy squatting and holding a large shell to his left ear. The bronze statue is the only copy in the world, the original marble being in the Louvre.
The museum’s collection dates as far back as 1805, the year that Mohamed Ali Pasha, founder of the royal dynasty that ruled
In addition to the royal jewellery, Ibrahim Darwish general manager of
The jewellery is displayed chronologically according to the succession of the members of the royal family. The museum is air conditioned, and has been provided with the lecture halls, a modern alarm system, and scanning and monitoring devices.