Museum to host touring exhibition on Troy: beauty and heroism

As part of the British Museum’s national programme Haslemere Educational Museum is hosting Troy: beauty and heroism.

The touring exhibition follows on from the British Museum’s major exhibition Troy: myth and reality.

Through a competitive application process, Haslemere museum was one of only three venues in the UK selected for this Spotlight Loan.

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Melanie Odell MBE, museum chairman, said: “Haslemere Museum is thrilled to have been chosen as one of only three museums in the country to host this British Museum Spotlight Loan.

Relief from a tufa limestone funerary urn. It shows Helen being loaded on board the ship bound for Troy, while Paris sits on a folding stool. Made in Italy, about 125BC–100BC Picture: The trustees of the British Museum

“It will also be a great opportunity for us to display our own artefacts, related to and complementing the subject, and we look forward to welcoming regular and new visitors attracted by the loan.

“We are most grateful to the British Museum for their support in helping us to put this exhibition together and I must take this opportunity to thank and congratulate the staff from both museums for their hard work in bringing the project to fulfilment under these difficult circumstances”.

The Spotlight Loan features an Etruscan funerary urn, dating from around 125BC–100BC, portraying Helen’s embarkation for Troy with Prince Paris.

In addition, a 2,500-year-old black-figure Athenian amphora shows the brutal side of Achilles taking revenge on Prince Hector, whilst other side shows the messenger god

Scene depicts Hermes, left, with goddesses Athena, middle and Aphrodite preparing for the judgement of Paris. Pottery, 520BC–500BC The trustees of the British Museum

Hermes with the goddesses Athena and Aphrodite as they prepare for the Judgement of Paris.

Victoria Donnellan, co-curator of the exhibition, said: “Following the success of the Troy exhibition at the British Museum, it is very gratifying to be able to bring an exciting selection of related objects to audiences around the UK thanks to the Museum’s National Programmes.

“The ancient story of Helen and Achilles is a fascinating one.

“I’m so pleased we can portray the various facets of beauty and heroism through these rich objects, especially with the 3D offering.”

Helen and Achilles are central characters to the story of the Trojan War; the young Greek queen Helen is the most beautiful woman in the world, whose abduction by the Trojan prince Paris triggers the ten-year war, whilst the short but glorious life of Achilles is the tale of one of the greatest Greek heroes - each are fascinating and complex figures in their own ways.

Focusing on significant moments from the lives of Helen and Achilles through the themes of beauty and heroism, four objects will be on display.

This touring show will convey key moments in the story of the Trojan War that define the lives and character of these two figures, as interpreted by ancient and modern artists.

These ancient objects are supplemented with two artworks on paper.

They include a drawing by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882) entitled, Cassandra, showing the prophetess Cassandra in anguish as the fate of her brother Hector looms.

An etching by Pietro Testa (1612–1650) entitled, The Birth and Infancy of Achilles, shows a composite scene of episodes from Achilles’ early life.

Specially created 3D scans will also provide close access to the objects, a first for the British Museum’s touring programme.

These will be available at Haslemere Museum through a collaboration with Sketchfab: visitors will be able to access the objects on their devices through QR codes and for viewing at home, reflecting the ever-increasing value of digital content.

A British Museum Spotlight Loan Troy: beauty and heroism will be on display at Haslemere Educational Museum from February 10 until May 7, 2022, Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10am until 5pm.

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