School of History, Classics and Archaeology


An Athenian Red-Figured Kalathos in the Shefton Museum

The Athenian red-figured kalathos.

The aim of this project was to investigate the history of an Athenian red-figured kalathos. It was to look at its rediscovery in the 19th century, when antiquarian interest redefined the status and appropriated the imagery of the vase.

This important piece is interesting both in terms of its rare shape and fascinating iconography. It depicts a group of six women engaged in wool work and beautification. 

Discovered in Athens in 1814, the kalathos belonged to the collection of Lusieri, Lord Elgin’s agent in Greece.

At some point, the pot was broken and the fragments divided between Lord Elgin’s collection in Broomhall and the Black Gate Museum in Newcastle. 

Published by Stackelberg in 1837 the kalathos was well known in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The painter Ingres made sketches of the piece, while architect’s drawings for the wall paintings at the Villa Kerylos, constructed 1902 – 1908, in the south of France, include the six figures from the kalathos.