So far, it's going well. I am establishing characters, the time period, and revealing aspects of the culture.
I finally (finally!) settled on the time at the end of the Old Kingdom and the early part of the First Intermediate Period, when Egypt became feudal in aspect. This most closely resembles the transition of Victorian England to WWI. The heri of the sepats (or as they are now known the Nomarchs of the Nomes) became hereditary, and the heri had greater power than pretty much any other time in Egyptian history.
Everything begins in prosperous times, probably mid-reign for Pepys, who had a 90 year reign that weakened Egypt. You'd think a long reign would strengthen the country, as Victoria's long reign benefited England. The difference seems to be that Pepys outlived his heirs and there was no clear transfer of kingship. In the turmoil following his death, Egypt divides, the heri gain precedence, the arts begin to suffer in some respects and change in others.
It's a good time to be heri.
And it's a good time to be a skilled and ambitious craftsman, too. The opportunities for gaining wealth and prestige abound for women as well as men.