A Roman blackware bowl.
It is one of a number of Roman artefacts collected by Mr Norman Bramley Radcliffe, a woollen manufacturer from Stalybridge, in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In 1933, following Mr Radcliffe’s death, his widow donated the collection to the newly opened Astley Cheetham Art Gallery in Stalybridge.
This Romano-British blackware bowl was found in Colchester. It was bought by Mr Radcliffe at auction, which is where he acquired most of his collection.
Some came from prominent collectors selling off parts of their collections, while others were sold off by archaeologists who needed to raise money to fund their next dig.
The collection includes glass vases, a Samian ware bowl, a black glazed lamp, a house tile and items of jewellery. One item, however, has proven not to be what Mr Radcliffe thought it was. A vase thought to be from the first century AD has since been found to be a nineteenth century fake as it is much heavier than the genuine article would be.
Fakes like this were common as people tried to cash in on the antiquities trade and took advantage of novices such as Mr Radcliffe.