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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 Museum 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.

Nominations are currently closed for the Max Le Petit and Gwenyth Jones Nicholson Museum Prize. This prize is awarded bi-annually and will be open for the next round of submissions in semester 2 2021. This prize will be for any University of Sydney undergraduate student’s work focussing on the Nicholson Collection completed during 2020 and 2021.

Students eligible to apply may submit their work directly to the Senior Curator via email before the submission deadline.

Tutors and Lecturers may nominate a student’s work directly to the Senior Curator via email.

All nominations must include:

  • a cover letter including the nominee's name, contact details, student ID and the course for which the work was originally submitted
  • the question or assessment guidelines for which the work was originally submitted should also be included
  • a final pdf of the submitted work.
  • The Max Le Petit and Gwenyth Jones Nicholson Museum 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 be chosen by a selection committee comprised of:

  • Senior Curator, Nicholson Collection
  • Manager of Education and Public Programs
  • President of the Friends of the Nicholson Museum.

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.


  • 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.


Read Barney Casey's winning work in MUSE 11 (pages 12-14)

Download PDF

James Fraser

Senior Curator, Nicholson Collection
  • Nicholson Museum Quadrangle A14