Focus on the Peck Collection: Ancient Spoils of War

January 24, 2020 - April 19, 2020

drawing of jugs with carved animals

In ancient Greece and Rome, it was customary for conquering armies to seize objects of value from defeated foes. This Focus on the Peck Collection installation presents two works of art that feature depictions of ancient Roman spoils of war. The first is a drawing attributed to seventeenth-century Flemish artist Anthony van Dyck that depicts three vessels filled with gold coins. The second is a chiaroscuro woodcut by sixteenth-century Italian artist Andrea Andreani that illustrates a Roman triumphal procession featuring similar looted items. Violently acquired, war “booty” represented both wealth and prestige to those who plundered it.



In January 2017, the Ackland Art Museum received its largest gift to date when Sheldon Peck (UNC-Chapel Hill, BS ’63, DDS ’66) and his wife Leena donated their extraordinary collection of 134 mostly 17th-century Dutch and Flemish master drawings, as well as significant funds for the stewardship of the collection, new acquisitions, and an endowed curatorial position in European and American art before 1950.

Focus on the Peck Collection is an ongoing series of installations selected from the Peck Collection and the Ackland’s other holdings of related works of art, with the goal of supporting education in comparative looking, historical analysis, and appreciation of quality.

Focus on the Peck Collection is made possible by the Ackland’s Peck Collection Endowment Fund.

Focus on the Peck Collection installations


About Sheldon and Leena Peck

Sheldon Peck, a native of Durham, North Carolina, is a double alumnus of the University, receiving his undergraduate degree from Carolina in 1963 and his doctorate from the UNC School of Dentistry in 1966. He and Leena enjoyed distinguished careers as prominent orthodontic specialists and educators in the Boston area.

The Peck Collection started as a collaboration between Sheldon and his late brother Harvey and continued as a joint interest shared with Leena. The result of over 40 years of exceptional connoisseurship, scientifically rigorous analysis, and dedicated pursuit, the Peck Collection stands as an internationally significant achievement. Sadly, Leena Peck passed away in January of 2019.


Resource Links

Podcast – “Well Said: The Peck Collection”
Video – A Transformational Gift of Art
Video – “The Art and Science of Collecting the Old Masters,” A Talk by Dr. Sheldon Peck, UNC-Chapel Hill, 21 May 2017
UNC Press Release – Gift of The Peck Collection
Legacy Website – Images and Scholarly Information on a Portion of The Peck Collection
Complete Illustrated List of Works in The Peck Collection at the Ackland


Image credit:

Attributed to Anthony van Dyck, Flemish, 1599-1641, Three Vases, c. 1618, pen and brown ink with black chalk, sheet: 9 × 9 1/4 in. (22.8 × 23.5 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Peck Collection, 2017.1.122.