In the mid to late 19th century many educated British men and women were obsessed with ancient Greece and Rome. Adventurous British people of this era often found themselves in the colonies, including New South Wales, Australia. One of these fellows was Sir Charles Nicholson, who was a founder of the University of Sydney, which is now the oldest Australian university. The university was founded in 1850; seven years later Nicholson travelled to Europe, inter alia, to do a grand tour of Italy, Greece and Turkey and buy antiquities for what became, in 1860, the university's Nicholson Museum.
The Nicholson Museum is now home to the largest collection of Mediterranean antiquities in the southern hemisphere. The 600 or so objects that Nicholson initially brought back to Australia has now grown to nearly 30,000 artefacts of artistic and archeological significance from Egypt, the Near East, Cyprus, Greece and Italy. To attract younger visitors it is also home to one of the most amazing Roman Lego set ups in the world, at the moment they have a large scale reproduction of Pompeii. In the past they have also done the Colosseum and the Acropolis. I went there today, and while it is not the British Museum it is still definitely worth a visit. Here are some of the (mostly Greco-Roman) photographic highlights.
|2nd century BCE urn from Chiusi, Italy|
|Artist's impression of how the above may have looked in its own time|
|I'm fairly sure this is also from Chiusi|
|Roman man in toga|
|Headless figure with a toga|
|A beautiful Greek woman (as I recall)|
|Mercury / Hermes|
|I believe this is Ceres / Demeter|
|Cupid / Eros|
|Venus / Aphrodite|
|I'm fairly certain this is Bacchus / Dionysos|
|Homer Iliad fragment|
- Turner M, "The Grand Tourists", Muse, March 2015