Leon of Massalia

Artist and writer Allen Seaby spent most of his retirement preparing books about ancient art and archaeology for children. His story about a young visitor to ancient Greece, remains unpublished. In the words of Seaby: “Leon, who lives in the country near Massalia [Marseilles], is sent by his father to Athens, where he learns about the arts. As well as meeting and learning from lots of craftsmen he takes part in the Olympic games in 400 BC.”

We have brought this unpublished manuscript out of the Seaby Archives in University of Reading’s Typography collections and are serialising an adaptation of it here, expertly redacted by Benjamin Thrussell, who has just graduated from University of Reading (BA Honours). It is illustrated here with images from the Ure Museum collection, Seaby’s own published drawings and elsewhere.


  1. Departure
  2. The Voyage
  3. A Stranger in a strange city
  4. The Theatre of Dionysos
  5. The Dionysiac revels
  6. The “Owls” of Athens
  7. Mother Ge turns in her sleep
  8. On the Akropolis
  9. One of the “Ten Thousand”
  10. Golden globules
  11. Lines, straight and curved
  12. The stone-masons’ yard
  13. The marble quarry
  14. Memories of Salamis
  15. A holiday from art
  16. Pots, whole and broken
  17. Kephisodotos
  18. The bronze Artemis
  19. Arms and armour
  20. The new dress
  21. The Painted Stoa
  22. The invitation
  23. The painters talk “shop”
  24. Battle of the brushes
  25. The slave-market
  26. Rescue
  27. Epilogue