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The orientalist Major R.G. Gayer-Anderson Pasha donated the house and contents of this essentially 17th-century building to the Egyptian government in 1942 after spending half a dozen years filling it with antiquities, furniture and ornaments. It is in fact two houses, built in 1540 and 1632 against the Mosque of Ibn Tulun. The later house, and the museum, take the name of Bayt al-Kiritliya (The House of the Cretan Woman) from a former owner. Gayer-Anderson and his twin brother were great collectors, and the house contains many antiquities acquired while he was a recruiting officer, travelling up and down the Nile. A room in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge named after the brothers contains some of the thousands of items they amassed.
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