Greek Collection

Dipylon Krater

Geometric krater from the Dipylon cemetery, Athens, NM46.41

The Nicholson Museum's Greek collections contain artefacts representative of the material culture of the Greek mainland, islands and surrounding regions, from the Bronze Age to the Late Hellenistic period. Although the wide range of ceramic vessels are the cornerstone of this collection, bronze and terracotta figurines, marble sculpture, rich jewellery items and numismatic objects contribute to its diversity.

During Sir Charles Nicholson’s travels to Egypt and Europe in 1856-58 he acquired, primarily in Rome, a range of Classical and Hellenistic Greek ceramics as well as terracotta figurines. In total over 70 significant Greek artefacts were included in the founding donation of the Nicholson Museum.

Further material, representative of the Greek mainland and islands, was purchased during the curatorship of Arthur Dale Trendall. His proactive acquisition program involved purchasing a wide range of ceramic types of Greek origin as well as significant contributions of sherd material for teaching purposes sought from prominent museums and individual collectors and scholars, including Sir John Beazley.

The collection was then expanded following a donation of hundreds of pottery fragments and small votive objects by the family of former curator William John Woodhouse in 1948. The majority of this material is thought to have been collected during Woodhouse's trips to Greece in the 1890s and 1930s, documented in the Woodhouse photographic collection. Most recent additions to this collection have come through generous benefactions and individual gifts to the Nicholson Museum.

Highlights from the Nicholson Museum’s Greek collection are on display in the exhibition Actors, Athletes and Academics: Life in Ancient Greece.

Highlights from the collection