It is very good news that RAMM, with the assistance of the AG Leventis Foundation, is able to make its collections of Cypriot and Greek archaeology more accessible. As Curator of Antiquities at RAMM, although I am not directly involved with the project, I am fascinated as new information on the collections is uncovered and objects get conserved.
As well as shedding more light on the objects in the collections I hope the project will be able to tell us a little bit more about the people who collected them. I am sure there are some interesting stories to be told. By far the biggest contributor to RAMM’s Cypriot collections was Lord Claude Delaval Cobham C.M.G., B.C.L. (1842-1915), described in his Times obituary as ‘The ‘Pasha’ of Larnaca’. From 1879-1908 Cobham was first Assistant Commissioner and then Commissioner of Larnaca on Cyprus. Cobham was a talented linguist and his post allowed him to hobnob with most important visitors to the island. These contacts seemed to have included archaeologists, including the locally-based Max Ohnefalsch-Richter, who helped Cobham amass a sizeable collection of antiquities. This collection was presented to RAMM in 1918 by Cobham’s nephew, Brigadier-General Cobham. There are around 150 pieces in the collection, some can be seen in RAMM’s new Ancient Worlds Gallery, others are being conserved and researched as part of this project.