Classics and Archaeology Virtual Museum

1958 Catalogue

Two typed pages headed "Melbourne University Museum. Catalogue of the Classical Collection - 12/11/58", are believed to have been drawn up by George Gellie (cf. Note of P Connor to R Marginson in 1972 about MUV 22 being acquired earlier than MUV 21).

The first page lists 22 vases numbered M.U.V 1 to M.U.V 22, the last two having the heading "unofficial numbering". The second page, headed "Other items", lists terracottas and other artefacts from M.U. 1 to M.U.17; the sequence M.U. 10 to M.U. 17 is headed "unofficial numbering". All items on these two pages are included with the same numbering system in the 1971 Catalogue of Works of Art and in the Gallery database, with some very minor amendments.

Several carbon copies of the same document are attached to copies of a similarly typescript document, with the same date, headed "On Loan from the National Gallery of Victoria" and listing 17 vases.

This list has an interesting genealogy. The story reveals much about the state of knowledge of the collection in the department when Professor Scutt retired, and the care exercised under Professor Harold Hunt, whose purchase in 1957 of MUV 21 'on the advice of' Dale Trendall may well have stimulated the loan from the NGV, the drawing up of the lists and doubtless an exhibition (as Chair of the Arts Faculty Museum Committee in the same year, Harold Hunt was instrumental saving the Museum Hall).

The story also underscores, once again, the importance to both institutions of Dale Trendall, who had published the Attic vases of both institutions in 1951 and thirty eight years later, in 1989, donated a vase (MUV 75) to the University. From what follows, it seems not improbable that the 1958 Catalogue may well have been drawn up by Trendall himself, or at least in close collaboration with him.

  1. The original NGV loan list seems to be a handwritten small note in pencil which, for 15 vases, gives a number and then a brief description. At the top: "+Small Aryballos" (total = 16). To right of each entry, in red ball-point, has been added an NGV number ranging from 1-17, with 2 & 3 grouped together and some question marks. Yet another hand, in blue ink, has added "Kotyle" and "Pelike" to the last two entries, which are both "Gnathian".
  2. A typed version of the pencilled text is headed "List of Antiquities Classified by Professor Trendall". The number to the left is now headed "Gallery No.", and 21 vases are briefly described. The original 15 vases are in the same order as the pencil list, and six more vases have been inserted at various points. This is a carbon copy and contains several typing and spelling errors, as though the typist had difficulty with the pencil writer's hand ("Halian" for "Italian"). Handwritten underneath is the remark "Original corrected" and the initials "RGT" (Godfrey Tanner). To the right of most entries has been added, in pencil, a period and a date. To the left of the six new vases, in what seems to be a different hand, is a pencilled cross.
  3. The next version is typed and the spelling mistakes have been corrected except that there is "Belike" for "Pelike". The document is headed "Department of Classics, University of Melbourne. On Loan from the National Gallery of Victoria. 17 Pieces". This time the vases are listed in Gallery number order. The six crossed vases in the previous version have dropped out again, and a second Geometric South Italian Oenochoe added. Pencilled underneath: "Catalogue checked 12-11-58. All correct". To the right of some entries, in a hand that looks like George Gellie's, have been added dates and a couple of other notes. To the left, in pencil, have been added the numbers 1-17 headed by "NGV".
  4. It is to the next version, typed, that the 1958 Catalogue has been attached. This version is original, not a carbon copy, and the spelling of Pelike is correct. The "Gallery No." is included, but to the left of it is typed (for the first time) a "N.G.V" number, and the vases are listed in this numerical order. Typed at the bottom is "Catalogue checked 12-11-58. All correct", followed by the initials "RJ" (= Dick Johnson?). Handwritten under this is "Checked Nov. '61. JMC" (John Carter) and "Checked HKH 27 Oct 64) (Harold Hunt).

On another carbon copy of version 4, to which are attached the two pages of the 1958 Catalogue, Peter Connor has written "Returned to Gallery 17 March 1970". To the right of the list he has written 14.12.70 and under this a tick next to 5 of the vases; and he has added a new item: "173 Gnathian ware jug". A provisional insurance cover note, dated 26/11/1970, lists 6 vases insured by both the NGV and MU: five of the the items are the same as those ticked by Connor, but has has also ticked a Black Figure Leaf Epichysis while the list mentions an Apulian Squat Lekythos (there is one on the longer list: did Connor tick in error, or was there a last minute swap?)

In 1994 the National Gallery sent a list of objects on loan, which included none of those mentioned in 1970. At some time the items on loan will have been swapped for others, as there was always a display of vases in the University Gallery. It would seem that all the vases were returned to the NGV in 1995 or 1996, thus ending a collaborative practice that had spanned more than forty years.

 

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