Close up of Max Le Petit examining a model of an Athenian trireme, superimposed by an Athenian white-ground lekythos

Max Le Petit and Gwenyth Jones Nicholson Collection Prize

For outstanding work on the Nicholson Collection
A $1000 prize awarded bi-annually to an outstanding undergraduate student’s work on any aspect of the Nicholson Collection.

In 2012 Gwenyth Jones donated funds to create a prize to celebrate undergraduate student engagement with the Nicholson Collection. The Max Le Petit and Gwenyth Jones Nicholson Collection Prize (named after Max Le Petit) is awarded bi-annually for an essay or written work submitted as part of a student’s undergraduate coursework on any aspect of the Nicholson Collection. The submitted work must have been completed within the preceding two years from the deadline for nominations.

The prize is named in memory of Gwenyth Jones's fiancé Maxwell Le Petit who died suddenly in 1947, aged 24. Max completed his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Sydney and was a teaching fellow in the Department of Classics. Gwenyth had met Max Le Petit while she was serving in the Air Force. While Max had initially enlisted, he was discharged before entering service due to his history with pneumonia. The couple were engaged in 1945. In 1946, Professor Trendall appointed Max as Assistant Curator of the Nicholson Museum, charged with academic tutoring, and the re-organisation of the Egyptian collection in preparation for the second edition of the Nicholson Museum Handbook (1948). Max was a beloved colleague, teacher and friend who was described by Professor MacDonald as "possessing great humanity". In his memory, Professor Trendall, with contributions received from staff and students, purchased a white-ground funerary lekythos by the Athenian 'Thanatos Painter' for the Nicholson Collection.

  • The Max Le Petit and Gwenyth Jones Nicholson Collection Prize is open to undergraduate students of the University of Sydney who are currently enrolled or have completed their degrees within the preceding two years.
  • The student must have submitted the essay or another piece of written work as part of their undergraduate coursework in the two-year period stipulated during the call for nominations.

The successful work will is chosen by a selection committee comprised of:

  • Senior Curator, Nicholson Collection
  • Head, Public Engagement
  • Chair, Chau Chak Wing Museum Members

The submissions are anonymised prior to review. The decision of the selection committee is final. If no nominations or no suitable nominations are submitted then the prize may not be awarded in that year.


  • Lilian Geddes-Korb (winner)
    Subject: Cast of an Athenian Acropolis Kore (NM2008.10)


  • Brad Arsenault (winner)
    Subject: Early Dynastic cylinder seal (NM62.772)


  • Mardi Kennedy (winner)
    Subject: Assyrian archer relief from South West Palace of Sennacherib, late seventh century BC (NM51.323)
  • Stephen Croft (runner up)
    Subject: Ancient greek coins including a Lydian stater, 600-550 BC (NM2004.715), and an Athenian Tetradrachm, 449-404 BC (NM2004.655)
  • Ella Gibbs (runner up)
    Subject: The ‘Cambitoglou Amphora’, an Athenian black-figure amphora depicting Ajax carrying the body of Achilles from the battlefield of Troy, attributed to the Antimenes Painter (NM2018.136)


Not awarded


  • Barney Casey (winner)
    Subject: An Apulian bell krater depicting a comic play with Herakles, attributed to the Lecce Painter, 375-350 BC (NM88.2)

Featured image (top of the page): Max Le Petit examines a model of an Athenian trireme, superimposed Athenian white-ground lekythos by the 'Thanatos Painter' purchased in memory of Max.


Candace Richards

Assistant Curator, Nicholson Collection