Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2010.09.16

J.R. Green, The Logie Collection: A Catalogue of the James Logie Memorial Collection of Classical Antiquities at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch.   Christchurch:  Canterbury University Press, 2009.  Pp. 406.  ISBN 9781877257667.  $120.00.  



Reviewed by Janet Burnett Grossman (grossmanjb@gmail.com)

[For a response to this review by Graham Zanker, please see BMCR 2010.10.22.]

[Table of Contents is listed at the end of the review.]

All 205 objects that comprise the James Logie Memorial Collection of the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, are included in this publication. In addition, information on loans to the Logie Collection from the Canterbury Museum, the Christchurch Art Gallery and the Otago Museum, Dunedin, are also contained in the catalogue, resulting in a total of 248 entries. Parts of the collection have been published previously, notably the Greek vases by A.D. Trendall in 1971.1

The book was commissioned by the Friends of the James Logie Memorial Collection, PhiloLogie, a support group established in 2004 by members of the Classics Department of Canterbury University along with interested individuals of the public in order to encourage knowledge and appreciation of the collection. The Logie Collection is housed in the Classics department of the University of Canterbury where its primary purpose is to support the teaching of classical studies with examples of material culture. Thus, the assemblage is eclectic and modest. The collection began in 1953 through the interest and dedication of Marion Steven, a Classics lecturer at the University, and after 1956, items were acquired in memory of Miss Steven’s husband, James Logie.

The majority of the Collection is formed by vases and other pottery items, among them a unique black figure amphora known as the Stilts Vase (cat. no. 19). The Collection also contains, according to Green (p. 71), the finest group of Attic black-figure cups in the Southern Hemisphere (cat. nos. 25-32). Other pieces include sculpture, coins, terracottas, jewelry, mosaics, glass, inscriptions, and textiles. The oldest item, a Cycladic figure, dates from 2300-2000 B.C. (cat. no. 118). The most recent object is a fragment of Coptic textile from the seventh century (cat. no. 248).

The production of collection catalogues is one of the most important objectives for institutions housing and caring for cultural and artistic objects, and thus, the University of Canterbury is to be commended for commissioning this publication. The author of the volume, Professor emeritus of Classical Archaeology at the University of Sydney, was invited to study and publish the results of his research in order to disseminate information on the collection to an audience outside New Zealand. Other scholars contributed some of the entries, for example, those on six Egyptian objects by Alison Griffith, which Green explains in the Preface (pp. 11-12).

The square format of the volume, measuring 22 cm, puts it between the size of a handbook and a fully realized catalogue of a collection.2 The entries, too, fall into that middle area in their content. Brief tombstone information is followed by a line or two on the physical properties and condition of the piece. Then a succinct description of the iconography with some commentary and interpretation is included. Comparative references are offered on some pieces and bibliography is cited for those objects previously published. Context for the works is provided with a general introduction to each class of objects. These short contextual essays are more or less informative with an attempt made to provide recent relevant citations by experts in the respective field. The essays are omitted for stone and bronze sculptures (cat. nos. 118-127), jewelry and other metal objects (cat. nos. 128-130), Roman inscriptions (cat. nos. 176-177), Cypriot terracottas (cat. nos. 229-232), and objects from the Near East (cat. nos. 233-235) and Egypt (cat. nos. 236-248).

The manner of acquisition of each of the items in the Collection is often difficult to determine. While the second line of the tombstone indicates a purchase or a gift, a careful reading of each entry must be done to reveal the actual source, which in most cases was the art market. How collections are formed, especially one begun as recently as 1953, is of great interest. So, an essay on the development of the Logie Collection would have added significantly to this publication.

In his introduction (pp. 13-15), Green offers just three brief paragraphs on Marion Steven and her role as the founder of the collection. A.D. Trendall, Miss Steven’s former professor, is credited with donating some material at the beginning from the University of Sydney’s Nicholson Museum. But entries for several pieces given by Miss Steven in 1953 (cat. nos. 5, 78-79), state that they were bought through the University of Sydney with the assistance of Trendall. Did Trendall donate or sell objects? It turns out that he apparently did both. Twenty-one objects were acquired by the University in 1953 (cat. nos. 3, 5, 14, 27, 32, 34, 39, 44-45, 57, 78-79, 97, 172-175, 223, 225-227). An itemization of the source of each of those reveals that four Roman glass vessels (cat nos. 172-175) and one Attic red-figured lekythos (cat. no. 34) were given by the Nicholson Museum, and one geometric mug (cat. no. 5) and two Corinthian vessels (cat. nos. 78-79) were “bought by M.K.S. through the University of Sydney with the assistance of A.D. Trendall.”

Except for Cypriot material excavated from three tombs that were part of the Melbourne University Cyprus Expedition and that was exported from Cyprus with the agreement of the Department of Antiquities and entered the Logie Collection in 1957, 1958, 1961, and 1973 (cat. nos. 180-220), the source of most all of the objects in the Logie collection was ultimately an auction house or art dealer. What is most surprising is that the collection continued to accept undocumented material as recently as 2007 (cat. nos. 67, 221-222).3 Most collections and museums no longer receive donations whose source cannot be verified as having been legally exported from its country of origin and have established acquisition policies to that effect.4 I could find no mention of an acquisitions policy for the Logie Collection in either this catalogue nor on the website . It behooves all holders of archaeological material and ancient artifacts to establish such policies and publish them. So, hopefully, there is such a policy for the Logie Collection and it will be posted on the website.

It should be noted that the production quality of the volume is of high quality with excellent photographs of each item, and a text with very few editorial errors.

Table of Contents:

Foreword
Preface
Introduction
List of Abbreviations
Greece and Italy
Ancient Greek and Related Pottery
Minoan and Mycenaean Pottery [nos. 1-3]
The Geometric and Orientalising Periods in Greece
Attic Geometric [nos. 4-6]
East Greek [nos. 7-10]
Corinthian [nos. 11-16]
Pottery of the Archaic and Classical Periods
Athenian Black-Figure Pottery [nos. 17-23]
Athenian Black-Figure on White Ground [no. 24]
The Black-Figure Drinking-Cups [nos. 25-32]
Athenian Red-Figure and White-Ground Pottery
Red-Figure Vases [nos. 33-43]
White-Ground Vases [nos. 44-46]
Pottery from the Greek Colonies of South Italy and Sicily
Apulian Red-Figure [nos. 47-51]
Apulian Gnathia Pottery [nos. 52-54]
Apulian Polychrome [no. 55]
Lucanian Red-Figure [nos. 56-57]
Campanian Red-Figure [nos. 58-65]
Sicilian Red-Figure and Black-Glaze [nos. 66-67]
Paestan Red-Figure [no. 68]
Other Pottery of the Fourth Century and the Hellenistic Period [nos. 69-74]
Pottery from Etruria
Etruscan Archaic [no. 75]
Etruscan Orientalising with Painted Decoration [nos. 76-81]
Etruscan Bucchero [nos. 82-83]
Etruscan Red-Figure [nos. 84-85]
Etruscan with Superposed Red [no. 86]
Etruscan Later Black-Figure [nos. 87-89]
Etruscan Black Glaze [no. 90]
Roman Pottery
A Group of Terra Sigillata from Ventimiglia [nos. 91-96]
Mould-Decorated Samian Ware [no. 97]
Clay Lamps [nos. 98-105]
Greek, Roman and Etruscan Terracottas [nos. 106-117]
Sculpture and Figurines in Stone and Bronze [nos. 118-127]
Jewellery and Other Metal Objects [nos. 128-130]
Greek and Roman Coins
Greek Coins [nos. 131-146]
Roman Coins [nos. 147-170]
Italian Coins [no. 171]
Roman Glass [nos. 172-175]
Roman Inscriptions [nos. 176-177]
Mosaics of the Late Roman Period [nos. 178-179]
Cyprus
Cypriot Bronze Age
Ayia Paraskevi, tomb 11 [nos. 180-198]
Karmi—Lapatsa, tomb 11 [nos. 199-217]
Karmi—Palealona, tomb 8 [nos. 218-222]
The Late Bronze Age [nos. 223-224]
Cypriot Iron-Age Pottery [nos. 225-228]
Cypriot Terracotta Figurines [nos. 229-232]
The Ancient Near East [nos. 233-235]
Egypt [no. 236-248]
Index of Vase-Painters and Stylistic Groups
Concordance of Logie Inventory Numbers and Numbers in this Catalogue

Notes:


1.   A.D. Trendall, Greek Vases in the Logie Collection, Christchurch, 1971. See also thirty objects published in, J.R. Green, Greek and Roman Treasures in Christchurch: A selection from the University of Canterbury’s Logie Collection, Christchurch, 2007.
2.   For an example of a handbook, see K. Lapatin and K. Wight, eds., The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection, Los Angeles, 2010. For a model example of a collection catalogue, see I. Romano, Classical Sculpture: Catalogue of the Cypriot, Greek, and Roman Stone Sculpture in the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 2006.
3.   The problems of undocumented artifacts in terms of illicit trade and forgeries are long recognized. See, for example, relevant comments by B.S. Ridgway in BMCR reviews 2007.08.10 and 2010.05.57.
4.   For example, see the Acquisitions policy of the J. Paul Getty Museum. Also see the standards regarding archaeological material and ancient art approved in 2008 by the American Association of Museums.

Comment on this review in the BMCR blog
Read Latest
Index for 2010
Change Greek Display
Archives
Books Available for Review
BMCR Home
Bryn Mawr Classical Commentaries

BMCR, Bryn Mawr College, 101 N. Merion Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
HTML generated at 04:20:07, Friday, 08 October 2010