Parting Thought on Ancient Greece and Near East
Although the prints discussed in this chapter constitute the most intense and concentrated convergence of Melville’s pictorial interest in Ancient Greece, the Near East, and the Judeo-Christian Bible, all of these subjects are also to be found in subsequent chapters of this online site. Likewise, the book boxes associated with this chapter (MBB 1.1-1.4) give only a small indication of the extent to which the culture, artifacts, and landscapes of these intersecting locales and traditions were represented in the hundreds of engraved illustrations within the hundreds of books Melville collected.
The family home on East 26th Street also housed a number of three-dimensional art objects that supplemented and enriched the pictorial images in the print collection. One such object was the plaster model of The Temple of Sirius on Malta that Eleanor Melville Metcalf donated to the Berkshire Athenaeum along with the prints from Melville’s collection in 1952 (fig. 1). On the back of a postal card identifying the sculptor as A. Penza that Melville preserved from his visit to Malta in 1857, he wrote “’Tempel of Sirius” and “Malta Stone Works” before recording very meticulous measurements:
7 1/2 inches long at bottom
7 1/8 inches long at top
3 7/8 inches wide at bottom
3 1/2 inches wide at top
4 inches high throughout.
This sculpture is currently displayed in the Melville Memorial Room at the Berkshire Athenaeum, with a sticker indicating that “This belonged to HM—EMM.”