British Museum Troy Exhibit On Our Doorstep


The McManus Dundee's Art Gallery & Museum view with DC Thomson building in background

Digital Content Editor, Jacky, gets a treat as a slice of Ancient Greece comes to the doorstep of “The People’s Friend” HQ. The British Museum Troy exhibit: beauty and heroism is on a Spotlight Loan to The McManus Dundee Art Gallery & Museum, directly opposite the DC Thomson building. Jacky has been to check it out… once, twice… ten times.


A British Museum Spotlight Loan: Troy beauty and heroism at McManus Museum sign

A British Museum Spotlight Loan, Troy: beauty and heroism

I have a huge interest in the subject of Classics. Namely, Ancient Greece and its mythology. This started in lockdown after reading some popular Greek Mythology retelling books like The Song of Achilles and Ariadne. This led to reading Homer, Euripides and Apollonius of Rhodes with Ovid next on my list.

I ended up on the British Museum website and stumbled across the Troy: beauty and heroism exhibit. I was trying to figure out how I might manage a trip to London when I spotted it was a touring exhibit and… it was stopping in Dundee. Not only in Dundee but directly opposite our work building!

It felt like it was deigned by the Fates themselves.

I’ve been eagerly waiting for months and finally visited at the weekend after its opening. And I wasn’t disappointed!

Emotional over amphoras

First was an Etruscan urn that’s never been on loan before, depicting the abduction of Helen by Paris. I prefer the version of the myth that she goes freely with Paris. Some artwork and plaster casts complement the pieces and give a sense of the overall aesthetic. Then, some bowls and cups from The McManus’ own collection. My favourite being this kylix (cup) depicting goddess Athena with her sacred owl, patron of Athens and Troy.

Kylix (cup) depicting goddess Athena

But the pièce de résistance, the Athenian amphora detailing the Judgement of Paris and Achilles’ brutality. On one side, the three goddesses Hera, Athena and Aphrodite and on the other, Achilles trailing Hector’s body from his chariot.

McManus British Museum Spotlight Loan Troy Beauty and Heroism exhibit pieces, plaster casts and vase

Athenian amphora and plaster cast statues

Having read of these objects and looked at pictures, I’m not ashamed to say I got quite emotional seeing them right in front of me! The mind boggles trying to fathom the thousands of years these fragile objects have survived and travelled to be sitting right in front of you.

I’ve already gone back during a work lunch time, and imagine I will many more times before the exhibit ends in August. Every time I get excited to think of all the still-buried secrets and treasures that we might uncover any day. Like the Roman mosaic recently found in Rutland, the first found in the UK to depict scenes of Troy. My fingers are crossed for new fragments of Sappho!


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Jacqueline Boland

Jacky is the Digital Content Editor at "The People's Friend", looking after our website, social media channels and podcast.