Hands up who remembers that magical time when famed singer of song Katy Perry visited the British Museum? Truly it was a marvelous moment in history. I still can’t get over the fist-bump.
Katy’s visit got me thinking… most of us museum-folk can remember one time or another when a famous face has paid our wondrous wunderkammer a visit, but what about the times when the look-a-likes have been with us all along? I don’t mean in a tacky Madame Tussaud’s kind of way, or even in a Luis Tussaud’s kind of way.
I mean in one of those “oh my god, look at this picture from the archives – doesn’t it look just like –!”
Well, as part of a project I’ve been working on at work, I’ve been trawling through some online archives and you would be amazed at who I’ve stumbled across.
Meet 19 year old Charles Burns, who was imprisoned for “false pretences” for three months in Newcastle City Gaol some time between 1871 and 1873.
A dead-ringer for Justin Timberlake? Non?
However, there is one celebrity who pops up more often than most, usually in an Ancient Greek and Roman Collection. Sometimes known as The King, Elvis Presley, or a likeness thereof, can be found all over the place.
The quiff on this statue really invites the comparisons to Elvis, but there may be more to it than just the hair. Let’s take a look at this lekythos from the National Archaeological Museum in Athens…
The puppy dog eyes, the pouting lips, they could have come right from a publicity photograph! I once had a teacher who was of the school of thought that Elvis was so popular because of, and I quote “his classical Greek looks.” Looking at these sources, I can’t help but think that my old teacher might have been on to something.
Or maybe our celebrity culture is just a way of worshipping time-travellers? Who knows!