Royal Irish Constabulary, 1882–91. Commandant Oil Rivers Protectorate Force, 1891–92. Vice Consul, 1892–96. Commissioner and Consul General of the Niger Coast Protectorate, 1896–1900. British Military Campaign on Benin, 1897. Awarded the order of KCMG in May 1897. High Commissioner, Southern Nigeria, 1900–1903. Organized colonial expedition against the Aro Confederacy, 1901. Committed... Read more
Royal Irish Constabulary, 1882–91.
Commandant Oil Rivers Protectorate Force, 1891–92.
Vice Consul, 1892–96.
Commissioner and Consul General of the Niger Coast Protectorate, 1896–1900.
British Military Campaign on Benin, 1897.
Awarded the order of KCMG in May 1897.
High Commissioner, Southern Nigeria, 1900–1903.
Organized colonial expedition against the Aro Confederacy, 1901.
Committed suicide, 1909.
(British Museum website); Phillips, 2021, 178).
As Consul General of the Niger Coast Protectorate, Moor lead the colonial expedition to Benin alongside Admiral Sir H. H. Rawson, commander of the Naval forces. In the autumn of 1897, he presided over the trials of Ọba Ovonramwẹ and his chiefs in Benin City (Phillips, 2021, 165). He oversaw the distribution of objects among the officers of Benin as ‘prize’, the attribution of official trophies as well as their transfer to the British Foreign Office and the queen Victoria, for whom two ivory Ẹkpẹn (Leopard Figure) and two ivory Aken'ni Elao (Altar Tusk) were set aside.
In particular, he shipped three hundred Ama (Relief Plaque) to London, where they arrived in June 1897, which were then donated by the Foreign Office to the British Museum. He also had part of the ivory immediately sold in Lagos (Bodenstein, 2022, 101-103).
Moor kept a large number of objects for his private collection. On his return to London he distributed part of his personal loot to administrators who had assisted him during the expedition. This attracted some suspicion from Crown Agents for the Colonies, requiring him to write a report in 1898 describing his role in relation to the taking of prizes (Bodenstein, 2022, 105-106; Lidchi, 2022).
There is some information available in relation to the collection that he put together for himself and brought back to London, though we are probably far from having a full view of his loot. He clearly preferred the ivory work, maintaining that the brass pieces were ‘hideously constructed’, and this can be seen in his collection.
He donated only one object to the British Museum during his lifetime – a Portuguese breech loading Osisi/Etu (Firearm) from the sixteenth century, donated in 1899 (Af1899,0610.1). His correspondence with the British Museum shows that he accepted requests from the museum’s curator to view his collection but never consented to any sales of the important pieces he had first choice of among the officers (Bodenstein, 2019, 230).
In 1905, he sold two brass Agba or Ẹrhẹ (Stool) at Stevens Auction Rooms in London where they were acquired by the Ethnographisches Museum in Berlin (209779; 211924). Lady Adrienne Moor inherited his collection and shortly after his death sold it off entirely to the art dealer John Sparks (Phillips, 2021, p.198); she died in 1919.
Some of the most precious pieces were acquired by the ethnographer Charles Gabriel Seligman – including two Iy’Ọba Idia ivory Uhunmwu-Ẹkuẹ (Pendant Mask) considered to have been taken with three others in the Ọba’s bedchamber (Ọba Palace). Moor’s masks are today in the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum (Bodenstein, 2019, 229-231).