”I loved nature, the wilder the better. […] I was enamoured with everything old: antiques, coins, fossils.” 

Encountering the past

Jacques de Morgan's father nurtured his interest in archaeology. He visited the Paris World's Fair in 1867, began collecting Roman medals, and on family walks, scoured the ground for flint, potsherds and other archaeological remains. These surveys occasionally turned into archaeological excavations, including at the Frankish necropolis in Camp Comptois, and the Neolithic settlement in Campigny.


Morgan painted his discoveries in gouache and displayed his collection in a private museum above the family stables. His father, who published a number of their discoveries, introduced him to some of the great archaeologists of his generation, including  Jean Benoît Désiré Cochet.


Morgan’s interests were not limited to archaeology, and he was also a keen student of geology, botany and palaeontology. He recorded his observations, collected specimens, and read generalist works, which both expanded his knowledge and fired his curiosity. The tastes and talents he developed as a teenager were to stay with him for the rest of his life.             

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