With the popular PBS drama Downton Abbey returning to our screens this week, we can reveal a direct link between Carnegie Hall and the show's setting.
The fictional Downton Abbey is, in reality, Highclere Castle, the country seat in Hampshire, England, of the Earls of Carnarvon. The link between the show and Carnegie Hall lies with Howard Carter who—along with George Herbert, the fifth Earl of Carnarvon—discovered the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun in 1922.
Between April 23 and 29, 1924—and following Lord Carnarvon's death—Carter gave four lectures at Carnegie Hall, during which he spoke about their discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb and the subsequent work there.
The New York Times review of the April 23 lecture mentions that the audience—which included "many prominent men and women"—filled the Hall and witnessed "still and moving pictures, some of them in color." Carter revealed that a vital clue in the discovery of the tomb came from American archaeologist Theodore M. Davis and recounted that his team had to remove "some 200,000 tons of rubbish before we reached the untouched stratum."
Page 1 of the program for Howard Carter's lecture on April 23, 1924.
Page 2 of the program for Howard Carter's lecture on April 23, 1924.
On the day of his final Carnegie Hall appearance in 1924, Howard Carter signed the autograph book of Louis Salter, who was Carnegie Hall's house manager. Courtesy of Louis Salter Collection, Carnegie Hall Archives.
Related: Hall History