Egyptologist and classical scholar James Terence DuQuesne (1942-2014).
Independent scholar and Egyptologist James Terence DuQuesne was cremated in London, Thursday, after a Pagan funeral. From around 10am a small group of mourners gathered at All Saints Church, New Cross where the ceremony was held. They included his Executor, Edward Goodman; his fellow Pagan and oldest friend Dwina Murphy-Gibb – widow of Bee Gee Robin Gibb; and his friend and helper David Pennell.
Goodman acted as Master of Ceremonies, and several people related anecdotes about Terry, as he was known. Dwina said she was told by his late mother that at the age of 6 when he was taken to the British Museum, he refused to leave the Egyptian Room, having already found his spiritual home. By the age of 14 he was translating from no less than 7 different types of hieroglyphics. Dwina then recited a poem she had written for him the previous day.
David Pennell related how he had met his fellow Londoner for the first time in Luxor. While Dwina had published Terry’s poetry, his main publisher was Daniel Jacobs of Durengo, who spoke about his scholarship in several fields. Terence DuQuesne published his first book at the age of 22: Catalogi Librorum Eroticorum: A Critical Bibliography Of Erotic Bibliographies And Book-Catalogues, an extremely impressive work. He wrote also on the use of drugs, and translated classical Greek and Latin poems, especially the erotic ones, which until then had been avoided; he spoke no fewer than five languages. His major works though were on Egyptology, including contributing to an on-line encyclopedia, and publishing under the auspices of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.
The oldest speaker was Terry’s neighbour of 36 years, Phyllis, who might have been 75, but according to David Pennell was not a day under 92.
Goodman spoke too, saying Terry was the most fascinating person it had ever been his fortune to meet. In 1986, the two men published Britain: An Unfree Country. Goodman also read out a number of tributes, including from three overseas academics.
The music played included the Bee Gees’ How Deep Is Your Love and an extract from Titanic Requiem by Robin Gibb and RJ Gibb, the son of Robin and Dwina.
After the ceremony, the party proceeded to Honor Oak Crematorium where Dwina read a short Druid prayer, then they returned to the Church.
Terence DuQuesne’s ashes will be delivered to Dwina, and another memorial service will be held on September 21 at the Prebendal, Priest End, Thame in Oxfordshire, after which they will be taken to his spiritual home, Luxor, where they will be scattered.
[The above article was published originally June 21, 2014].
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