The Nicholson Museum’s Italian collection is representative of the diversity of the ancient Italian world with significant cultural material from Etruria, South Italy and the Roman World. The first millennium BC was a time of diversity and constant cultural change in the Italian region resulting in spectacularly varied material culture across the peninsula and is the foundation for the iconic Roman Imperial traditions.
From the museum’s foundation the cultures of ancient Italy have been strongly represented in the collection. Sir Charles Nicholson spent considerable time in Rome collecting Latin inscriptions, Etruscan funerary urns and bronzes, South Italian vases and Roman lamps, figurines and ceramics. Additional large sculptural works were also acquired by Sir Charles including two life-sized togatus statues along with several fragmentary figures. The Italian collection was further developed with the acquisition of a significant corpus of South Italian vases by A.D. Trendall during his curatorial tenure. Most recently the South Italian collection has been comprehensively published in the first Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum of an Australian collection, with a second volume due for release in 2014.
The Italian collection is further enriched by the Roman period artefacts incorporated into the collections from Egypt, Cyprus and the Near East. These provide a unique overview of the far reaching influences of the Roman Empire from the first century AD into the Byzantine period.
Many of artefacts from the Nicholson Museum’s Italian collection are on display in our exhibitions The Etruscans: A Classical Fantasy and Memento: Remembering Roman Lives.