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The donor

Alexander Rostovitz, who very probably came from Northern Greece, settled at an early age in Cairo, where he died in 1919. As a member of the retinue of the heir to the Egyptian throne, Abbas Hilma II, he was sent to Austria to attend the Theresian School for Princes. His abilities led to his being placed in charge of the provisioning of British troops under Major General Sir Garnet-Josef Wolseley during his expedition to the Sudan. Rostovitz thus became an extremely important representative of the Greek community in Cairo and acted as its president for a long time. In this capacity he saw to the building, often using his personal funds, of welfare foundations and became a leading representative of the Greek euergetism in Egypt.

Rostovitz founded a steam shipping company to provide recreational travel up and down the Nile and so contributed greatly to the rise in interest in Egypt on the part of tourists. His constant travelling, his wide range of social acquaintance and his wealth and education brought him access to Egyptian antiquities of the highest quality and ensured him privileged treatment during auctions of antiquities for Cairo Museum. In 1904 Rostovitz donated his priceless collection to the National Archaeological Museum, Athens. His collection comprises 2.237 objects spanning all periods of Egyptian culture.