William Tyssen-Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst of Hackney
Background and education
Born William Amhurst Daniel-Tyssen, he was the eldest son of William George Daniel-Tyssen, who was the son of William George Daniel and his wife Amelia Amherst, the daughter of John Amherst and Mary Tyssen. Amherst's mother was Mary, daughter of Andrew Fountaine. In 1852, he and his father assumed by Royal licence the surname of Tyssen-Amhurst. However, in 1877 he again changed it, to Tyssen-Amherst, also by Royal licence. Tyssen-Amherst was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford.
In 1880, he was elected to Parliament for West Norfolk, a seat he held until 1885, and then represented South West Norfolk until 1892. The latter year he was raised to the peerage as Baron Amherst of Hackney, in the County of London, with remainder, in default of male issue, to his eldest daughter Mary and her issue male. Apart from his parliamentary career Tyssen-Amherst also served as High Sheriff of Norfolk in 1866 and as Deputy Lieutenant of Middlesex and was a Justice of the Peace for Norfolk, Middlesex and Westminster.
Tyssen-Amherst is chiefly remembered as a collector of books, manuscripts, antique furniture and other works of art. He became famous for his Egyptian collection. In his country home, Didlington Hall, he built a museum for his rapidly growing Egyptian collection. In 1906, he was forced to sell a large portion of his collection after discovering that his estate and certain trust funds had been entirely dissipated at the hands of an untrustworthy solicitor under whose management they had been placed. He lived only six weeks following the auction of the last lot from this collection.
His name is noted at the Carter gallery display of Swaffham Museum in Norfolk, suggesting that Tyssen-Amherst’s collection of ancient papyri and Egyptian figures was seen by a young Howard Carter. The Museum records reveal that in 1882 he exhibited six "life size Egyptian figures" at Swaffham assembly rooms. A copy of the catalogue describes the figures he exhibited which included a figure of a Bedouin chief. He also exhibited a Thutmose III brick circa 1330bc, excavated from the banks of the Nile. Amhurst's collection included the lower section, of a 20th Dynasty tomb robbery papyri otherwise described as the Leopold II and Amherst Papyrus, which is in the possession of the Morgan Library & Museum, New York.
Lord Amherst of Hackney married Margaret Susan, only child of Admiral Robert Mitford, in 1856. They had seven daughters. He died in London in January 1909, aged 73, and was succeeded in the barony according to the special remainder by his daughter Mary.
- B. P. Grenfell and A. S. Hunt, The Amherst Papyri, being an account of the Greek Papyri in the collection of Lord Amherst of Hackney at Didlington Hall, Norfolk I (London 1900), pp. 41-43.
- "Lord Amherst Dead", The New York Times, 18 January 1909, p 9. [ProQuest Historical Newspapers, New York Times (1857-Current file), Document ID 101861717]
- Swaffham Fine Art Exhibition Official Catalogue, J Jenvey Pricehon.sec 1882
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Lord Amherst of Hackney
- William Amhurst Tyssen-Amherst
- The Amhersts of Didlington
- Didlington Estate, Norfolk
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
George Bentinck and
|Member of Parliament for West Norfolk
With: with George Bentinck, to 1884
Clare Sewell Read, from 1884
|New constituency||Member of Parliament for South West Norfolk
Sir Thomas Leigh Hare
|High Sheriff of Norfolk
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|New creation||Baron Amherst of Hackney
Mary Rothes Margaret Cecil