Hellenistic over life size head of a man, possibly one of the successors of Alexander the Great, 2nd-1st century BC
Height 33.5 cm.; Width 10 cm.
Price: £145,000 (plus any applicable taxes)
The over life-size youthful head gazes forwards with large rounded eyes beneath a strong brow, thick tousled locks lie close to the head revealing the ears, teeth visible through parted lips. Parian marble. Chips to the face, the nose in particular.
This head is possibly a portrait of one of the early Antigonid or Seleucid rulers, also known as the Diadochi (successors of Alexander the Great). However it is also possible that the head is that of Ptolemy Soter; the lack of a diadem indicates that it could have been a representation of the General prior to the death of Alexander the Great. The eyes are typical of Ptolemaic portraiture, and Parian marble was transported to Alexandria in vast quantities, indeed it is the most common marble found in Egypt during this period.
The lack of attributes makes it difficult to identify this head with any certainty, however its idealised features and monumental scale point towards several possibilities. For a close example identified as Meleager, see Margarete Bieber, The Sculpture of the Hellenistic Age (New York, 1961), fig.54, 56 and 57; for an example of an undiademed prince or dynast compare R.R.R. Smith, Hellenistic Sculpture (London, 1991), no.3; and for an example of an Apoxyomenos compare ibid., no.47.
Colonel Brugeilles, France; exported from Turkey (Alexandretta) 1937-1938; and thence by descent.
Egyptian bust of a nobleman or scribe, Late Dynastic Period, early 26th Dynasty, reign of Psamtik I, c.664-610 BC
Height 16.4 cm.; Width 12.7 cm.
Price: £66,000 (plus any applicable taxes)
The well-sculpted male is carved in a fine-grained, dark grey-green greywacke, polished to a low sheen. He wears a smooth broad wig which leaves the large ears exposed. His narrow, almond-shaped eyes have raised cosmetic lines and eyebrows. Bare torso with narrow waist, broad shoulders and pronounced clavicles, his upper arms well modelled. Chips to tip of nose and chin. The dorsal column, which has broken away, would likely have been inscribed.
Psamtik I was the first of the three Saite kings of the 26th Dynasty. His rise to power, the subjugation of Assyrian rule in Lower Egypt, and the subsequent Saite Period is aptly described in Herodotus’s Histories, Book II, 151–157. Much of Psamtik’s rule depended on Greek troops, and as such he felt the need to emphasise the Egyptian past and ancestry. This nationalism led to a classicising of artistic style, and sculpture was created which was inspired by the 4th and 5th Dynasties but which took on a new canon of proportions. During this period we see the polychromy of old being abandoned and instead a fashion arising for polished stone, whose reflective surfaces caught the light in such ways as to emphasise the new artistic modelling.
Me Paul Renaud, Drouot Richelieu, Collection Jean-Marie Talleux, Antiques, Archéologie Egyptienne, Grecque et Romaine,
5th-6th Dec. 1995, lot 318.
Charles Ede, Small Sculpture from Ancient Egypt XXIII, London, 1996, no. 8.
For the torso compare Anthea Page, Egyptian Sculpture, Archaic to Saite from the Petrie Collection (Warminster,) no.107. For a kneeling figure typical of the Saite period see Egyptian Sculpture of the Late Period 700 B.C. to A.D. 100, Brooklyn, 1960, pl. 34, no.3.
Jean-Marie Talleux (b.1930), France; acquired 1950s-1960s, collection no. 305
Charles Ede, London, UK, acquired in Dec. 1995.
Private collection, Rome, Italy, acquired from the above on 21 Aug. 1996.
Egyptian black-top ovoid vase, Predynastic Period, Naqada I-II, c.4000-3200 BC
Height: 19 cm. (maximum diameter 15 cm.)
Price: £6,500 (plus any applicable taxes)
Formed from Nilotic clay, the majority of the body with an earthy red-orange tone, the top of the vase encircled with an uneven black band, the entire exterior surface richly burnished. From a small flat base the tall vase widens upwards and curves in before narrowing to a thickened, rounded lip. The interior is black but unburnished. A small chip from the lip restored.
Compare Joan Crowfoot Payne, Catalogue of the Predynastic Egyptian Collection in the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford, 2000), fig.26, no.243
Private collection of a medical doctor, UK, acquired as a gift from a client in the mid-late 1970s.
Egyptian jar with lug handles, Early Dynastic Period-Old Kingdom, 1st-4th Dynasty, 3100-2494 BC
Price: £34,000 (plus any applicable taxes)
The squat jar has wide, rounded shoulders, the body tapering to a small flat base. The two small horizontal lug handles are drilled from either side, and allowed it to be suspended by cords. Carved from andesite porphyry with relatively large white crystals, the surface has a very fine polish. Intact, the rim perhaps repolished.
Christoph Bernoulli (1897-1981), Basel, Switzerland; acquired prior to 1963, thence by descent
The lip and rather flat shoulder are unusual, but are known variants to an early dynastic type. See Barbara G. Aston, Ancient Egyptian Stone Vessels; Materials and Forms (Heidelberg, 1994), p.83, fig 80, and pp.121-121. Also Plate 1a for an example in the Cairo Museum, with undrilled lugs, in hornblende diorite.
For the more usual type compare Ali el-Khouli, Egyptian Stone Vessels, Predynastic Period to Dynasty III, Vol.III (Mainz/Rhein, 1978), pl.60, no.1541
Roman Isis-Aphrodite, c.2nd century AD
Height 31.7 cm.
Price: £ 70,000 (plus any applicable taxes)
She stands naked in contrapposto, her hips thrown out to the proper right. The goddess wears twisted armlets and a tall crown of Isis, the sun-disc incised with a rearing cobra, the two elongated cow horns supported by a couple of plumes, whilst two further plumes stick out at right angles from the base of the crown. Her hair is tied in a bun at the nape of her neck, with two tightly coiled locks falling down her shoulders. Her head is turned to the left and directed downwards, whilst incised pupils show her gaze to be looking up. The right hand is held close her right breast, the thumb and forefinger pressed together as she pinches her nipple, her left arm partially extended, bent at the elbow, the fingers clasped as if to hold an attribute now missing. She stands on a footed hexagonal base with small overhang, her left heel delicately raised so that her big toe is free of the ground, the toenails incised. Hollow cast with a strong green and red patina. The horizontal plumes of the crown now missing. Break to her right leg above the ankle.
The arrangement of her hair is strongly reminiscent of the wig worn by divinities and royals in ancient Egypt. This, combined with the crown, denote this statuette as being an image of the syncretic goddess Isis-Aphrodite.
For the pose and hair see S. Reinach, Repertoire de la statuaire grecque et romaine, Paris, 1897, p.359, no. 3.
Louis de Clercq (1836-1901), Paris, France.
Count and Countess Henri de Boisgelin; by descent from the above, his great uncle.
Nicolas Koutoulakis (1910-1996), Paris, France, acquired from the above in 1967.
Emmanuel Koutoulakis, Geneva, Switzerland; by descent from the above.
European incised dagger, Middle Bronze Age, BZ B1-BZ B2C, 16th-15th century BC
Length: 27.9 cm.; Width: 4 cm.
£14,000 (plus any applicable taxes)
The cast, hammered and incised blade has sharp edges and is of an attractive elongated leaf form, the blade narrowing slightly after the base and tapering towards the tip. At the bottom of the shaft is a semi-circular motif with extremely fine incised decoration. The central rib is bordered by pairs of incised lines which mimic the blade’s shape. The Flattened base has six circular perforations used to attached a handle of another material, one pin remains in situ. The surface has a very attractive bright blue-green patina.
Compare Bagley, Eggl, Neumann & Schefzik, ‘Alpen, Kult und Eisenzeit’, Rahden/Westf, 2009, pp. 98-99.
Kurt Esterl sen (d. 1982), Austria, acquired 1963-1981; and thence by descent.
Persian sword blade, c.1200-1000 BC
Length: 49.6 cm.
The cast and hammered blade is of an elegant tapered leaf form, the midrib enlivened with ridges running
the length of the blade and bordered by two further raised bands of ridges. A long tang descends from the base of the blade, and would have been inserted into a separately-made handle. The edges are still sharp, the surface with an attractive blue and green mottled patina.
The ribs and ridges on this blade create what is known as a ‘blood channel’.
Compare P.R.S. Moorey, ‘Catalogues of the Ancient Persian Bronzes in the Ashmolean Museum’, Oxford, 1971, pl. 7, no. 57.
Frederick S. Clark (1923-2016), Guildford, UK, acquired 1960s-1980s.
Private Collection, Surrey, UK.