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Mycenae Drawings


The Mycenae drawings were commissioned in pen and ink, pencil, and watercolour gouache on paper, to provide illustrations for the academic publication of the excavation. The first two albums in this set comprise the majority of the art work that supported the thirteen-part definitive report of the 1920-1923 excavations in the Annual of the British School at Athens, volume XXIV (1920) and XXV (1921-1923), and Chamber Tombs at Mycenae (Society of Antiquaries: Archaeologia, 82), 1932, under the editorship of A.J.B. Wace.’

In this period, illustrations of particular pots, and small finds such as beads and faience objects, were often used in preference to photographs, rendering colour and texture with remarkable fidelity. Key small finds continued to be drawn throughout successive excavation seasons; the archaeological illustrator Piet de Jong worked at Mycenae both in 1920-1923 and again in 1955. The meticulous pencil sketches by Emile Gilliéron fils (1885-1939) of the ivory figural triad 39-165 to 39-167 from the Prinaria area deposit (MCNE-2-3-03), compared with the photographs of the same object (MCNE-3-3-04) demonstrate the artist’s continuing vital contribution to the visual record in archaeology, alongside photography.

Drawings of small finds from the excavation seasons after 1920-1923 were collated not by publication, but according to material type or specific artefact, such as ivories and seals/sealings. Drawing of pottery vessels and their sherds are mostly grouped according to their find site and excavation year.

Bibliographic references are supplied for the initial publication of a drawing.  Subsequent publications of a drawing are normally not given, unless it was a publication written or edited by A.J.B. Wace himself.