British Museum loan arrives at the National Horseracing Museum

10th January 2017

Black-figured Panathenaic pottery prize-amphora On display in the National Horseracing Museum from 11th January – June 2017

The National Horseracing Museum, which makes up one third of the new National Heritage Centre at Palace House Newmarket is set to receive one of its most significant loans since opening.

The ancient Greek prize amphora is on loan from the British Museum and is the oldest object in the National Horseracing Museum. It was made in Athens about 500BC-490BC, and is decorated in the black-figure technique.

This amphora is significant to horseracing because it is one of the oldest image-for-news

horseracing trophies. It would have been one of many given to the winner of the horse race in the Panathenaic games held every four years in Athens in honour of the goddess Athena, hence it is known as a Panathenaic amphora, These amphoras would have been full of Athenian olive oil, a valuable commodity used for cleansing the body, lighting and cooking.

This amphora depicts a horse race with two long-haired youths on horseback riding at full speed. Each has a three-thonged whip, the foremost brandishing his, the other holding his downwards; the bridles, bits and other details are indicated by incised lines. Young boys were employed as jockeys by the owners of the expensive race-horses, riding without saddles and also without stirrups which had not yet been invented.

Chris Garibaldi, director at Palace House Newmarket says:

We are thrilled to be displaying this wonderful Greek pottery vase from the British Museum. Not only is it a fantastic addition to the displays at the National Horseracing Museum but it highlights our ambition to show the very finest objects relating to the history of racing. It sets the widest historical and cultural context for the museum’s own collections and allows us to tell the story of horseracing from the classical world right up to the modern period. We are hugely grateful to the British Museum for the loan. We hope that visitors enjoy coming to see this very special object – apart from anything else, it is absolutely beautiful.

Facts:

Attributed to: The Eucharides Painterpanathenaic-prize-amphora-c-british-museum-trustees

Made in Athens, Greece

Dated:  500BC-490BC (circa)

Height: 65 centimetres

Diameter: 40 centimetres

Designs: Black on red panels.

Photo credit: British Museum Trustees