Founded in 2014 by Baron Lorne Thyssen-Bornemisza, Kallos Gallery is a London gallery specialising in ancient art. They offer a carefully curated selection of works from Antiquity, including Ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Western Asiatic and European artefacts. They strive to maintain a great diversity of objects, but all united by a particular aesthetic quality inspired by their name Kallos, which means ‘beauty’. That may be the quality of a surface, the powerful form of a helmet, the line of a finely carved marble, the miniature detail of a gem or the draughtsmanship of a vase.
For further details on the artworks offered for sale by Kallos Gallery in the Eye Viewing Room please make an enquiry below.
A Greek Bronze Helmet of Illyrian Type, c. 6th-5th Century BC
Bronze Height: 25 cm. Price: £55,000 (plus any applicable taxes)
Of Type IIIB, hammered from bronze sheet, of domed form. The helmet has a short flaring neck-guard and straight protective cheek guards. There are two raised parallel ridges running front to back across the crown, with a button pin at the centre front.
This is a purely Greek form of helmet with its origins in the north-western Peloponnese of the early 7th century. Many such helmets have been found in the Peloponnese, including at Olympia. There is a Lakonian (Spartan) bronze figure of a warrior found at Dodona, depicted wearing an Illyrian helmet, supporting the popularity of this type of helmet in the Peloponnese in the Archaic Period. Due to a number of early finds of such helmets on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea, in modern scholarship the form became known as Illyrian.
There were three main phases of development of the helmet and this example belongs to Type IIIB: For discussion of Type IIIB, see H. Pflug, ‘Illyrische Helme’, in A. Bottini et al., ‘Antike Helme’, Mainz, 1988, pp. 55-9.
For further reading see A. M. Snodgrass, ‘Early Greek Armour and Weapons. From the End of the Bronze Age to 600 B.C.’, Edinburgh, 1964.
Private Collection, Switzerland, 1980s.
Private Collection, USA.
Condition: Some restoration at the crown and the ridges. Overall well-preserved.
A Roman pale blue glass cinerary urn with lead lid, Western Empire, Late 1st-2nd Century AD Pale blue glass with lead lid Height: 26 cm. Price: £17,000 (plus any applicable taxes)
The large free-blown vessel has a spherical body and a concave base, the everted, folded rim is surmounted by a lead lid. There are tiny air bubbles in glass and a band of attractive silvery iridescence beneath the rim. This form of glass is known from many sites in the western provinces of the Roman Empire, where they were used as cinerary urns. The jar corresponds to Isings form 67a. Often such urns had matching glass lids but this example is unusual in that its lid was made of lead and it has survived. This type of jar has been found largely in Europe, in the middle and north of the Roman empire. There have been numerous documented finds from Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, France and Britain. The natural assumption is that this type of glass was manufactured in those countries and that the limited finds across the rest of the Roman empire must thus be exported goods. Such large glass jars were used as storage vessels and this is known from finds in Pompeii, Herculaneum, Boscoreale and Settefinestre. However they were also employed for cremation and the jars used for this purpose have survived the centuries in exceptionally good condition.
Further Literature: For the type see C. Isings, ‘Roman Glass from Dated Finds’, Groningen, 1957, pp. 86-7. For a further discussion of the type, cf. D. Whitehouse, ‘Roman Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass’, vol. 1, Corning, 1997, p. 175, no. 307. For a cinerarium with a lead container and lid, cf. E.M. Stern & B. Schlick-Nolte, ‘Early Glass of the Ancient World 1600 BC - AD 50’. Ernesto Wolf Collection, Germany, 1994, no. 42.
Provenance: Anon. sale; Sotheby's London, 13th & 14th July 1981, lot 463. With Asprey, London, c. 1986–1989. Rupert Wace Ancient Art, London, before 2006. Swiss Private Collection, acquired in 2006.
Condition: Intact, with minor air bubbles and surface wear. Some iridescence remaining. The lead lid is cracked and damaged.
A Roman Marble head of Venus, c. 1st-2nd Century AD
Height: 23 cm.
Price: £25,000 (plus any applicable taxes)
With youthful idealising features, the goddess's head is turned slightly to her left. Her wavy centrally-parted hair is brought back into a low chignon (now missing) at the back, with tresses pulled over the crown and tied in a top-knot. Her oval face is enhanced by delicate features and lidded eyes.
The position of the goddess’s head, her hairstyle and her gaze find close similarity with the head of the Capitoline Venus, named after a Roman marble statue of the goddess, now in the Capitoline Museum, Rome. The original of this type is thought to date to 3rd – 2nd Century BC Asia Minor. Cf. M. Bieber, ‘The Sculpture of the Hellenistic Age’, New York, 1955, p.20. The ‘Venus Pudica’ type was ultimately derived from the 4th century BC original by Praxiteles. The Aphrodite of Knidos, as it is known, enjoyed great renown as the first devotional statue of a female goddess in the nude. The sculpture became an immediate sensation when it was placed in a sacred temple on the island of Knidos. Although the sculpture is now lost, Roman copies such as this help inform us of its likely appearance. The present example can be compared to a head of the goddess in Dresden, see ‘LIMC’, II, 2, Aphrodite, no. 410, p.52.
Pierre, Claude & Jeanine Vérité Collection, France, 1930–1980 (The Vérité family were dealers of primitive art and archaeology. The business and the collection began in Paris with Pierre Vérité, in the 1930s, when he and his wife Suzanne opened their first gallery ‘Tribal Art and Archeology’. Then in 1937, the ‘Galerie Carrefour’ was created at 141 boulevard Raspail in the 14th arrondissement. Pierre’s son Claude and his wife Jeanine joined the business in 1950 and it is Jeanine's records and inventory that this beautiful head of Venus is recorded in.
Some surface wear and encrustation. The nose has been restored. There has also been some infill to the chin, lower lip and area above her right eye.
A Roman Marble Cinerary Urn, Inscribed for Pamphile, Late 1st-2nd Century AD Marble Height: 21.6 cm.; Length: 38.7 cm.; Depth: 26.7 cm. Price: £40,000 (plus any applicable taxes)
Engraved in front between corner pilasters and within a framed rectangular panel with two lines of Latin inscription reading Pamphiles / anima sancta salve ("Hail, holy soul of Pamphile"), the sides carved with imitation ashlar masonry and fitted with mortises and remains of lead clamps for attachment of the now missing lid.
The reference to ‘holy soul’ is unusual in this pagan context. Such concepts as 'soul', 'sanctity' and 'innocence' on epitaphs do appear in pagan contexts but become particularly prevalent in the later Roman, early Christian period.
Further Literature: A. F. Gori, ‘Codex Marucellianus A, 245’ (letter dated 15 June 1740, probably from J. Odam). S. Maffei, ‘Museo Veronense’, Verona, 1749, p. 281, no. 2. ‘Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum’, Vol. VI: ‘Inscriptiones Urbis Romae latinae’, Part 3, Berlin, 1886, no. 23740.
Provenance: The artist Girolamo Odam (1681 – 1741), Rome. The sculptor Carlo Antonio Napolioni (1675 – 1742), Rome, official restorer to the Museo Capitolino. Anon. sale; Sotheby's, London, 17 – 18 July 1985, lot 588. Martha Hyder Collection
Condition: Surface wear including chipping to the edges of the urn. The remains of clamps for the lid at the sides
An Attic Black-Figure Hydria, Attributed to the Leagros Group, c. 525-500 BC Terracotta; black figure Height: 39 cm. Price: £55,000 (plus any applicable taxes)
The water jar has a high arching pouring handle flanked by spurs where it joins the lip. There are two horizontal carrying handles at either side at the carinated edge where the sloping shoulder joins the curving body. The decoration is in black-figure with added white and red to heighten the details. The main panel on the body of the vase depicts a warrior preparing to depart in his chariot for war. The chariot is being manned by a charioteer with a pointed beard, wearing a long white chiton, his Boeotian shield slung over his back. The warrior is standing in front of his chariot, in full hoplite armour, wearing a high crested Corinthian helmet and greaves, and holding his large round shield and two spears. He is shown turning back to look at an old man with long white hair, presumably his aged father, whose hand is raised in a gesture of farewell. A hound stands on the far side of the four horses. There are columns of ivy at either side of the scene. The shoulder is decorated with a further panel composed of two male revellers at the symposium, both reclining on their klinai (banqueting couches). The man on the left is offering a kithara to the man opposite. They are flanked by large eyes, with a row of tongues above. There is a band of rays emanating from the foot.
‘The notable popularity of departure scenes in Classical Athenian vase painting can be seen to reflect contemporary civic and personal values, as well as the historical fact of military service and frequent warfare during this period.’ (S.B. Matheson, ‘A Farewell With Arms: Departing Warriors on Athenian Vases,’ in J.M. Barringer and J.M. Hurwit, eds., ‘Periklean Athens and its Legacy’, Austin, 2005, p. 23).
The warrior's departure was a popular theme on Attic vases from the Archaic period, through to the late Classical period. Both mythological heroes and mortal Athenians were usually depicted in the armour of the hoplite, with various family members and animals there to say farewell before they are borne off to battle.
Beazley identified the Leagros Group as a workshop consisting of painters who decorated pottery in the black-figure technique in Athens from about 525 to 500 BC. They favoured large vessels such as hydriai, painting in a vigorous and complex style, often with many overlapping figures. Their work is contemporary with the invention and early development of red-figure. As with most ancient artists, the actual names of the painters in the Leagros Group are unknown; their work is identified only by stylistic traits. Beazley so-named the Group from the use of the kalos inscription Leagros. The composition and general execution of this vase is very close to that of other vases attributed to the Leagros Group; there is a neck amphora with a similar composition of a warrior departing, now in the Fondation Gandur pour l'art: BAPD no. 7959. The specific details of the vessel can also be paralleled in other vases. For instance, the elderly man with his white hair falling in long ringlets is very characteristic of the Leagros Group and related depictions can be seen on several vessels such as the shoulder of a hydria, British Museum acc. no. B320: BAPD no. 302044 and the body of an amphora, Museo Gregoriano Etrusco Vaticano, acc. no. 372: BAPD no. 302102. The charioteer with long white drapery and a Boeotian shield can also be found on a Leagran lekythos in National Museum, Athens acc. no. 12482: BAPD no. 302361.
Private Collection, England, Cambridgeshire, (probably) acquired in the 19th Century on the Grand Tour.
Cheffins, Cambridge, c. 2000.
Charles Ede Limited, acquired from the above in May 2002
Private Collection, England.
Repaired from fragments, with a couple of small areas of restoration.
The vessel has an ovoid body set on a stepped foot. The high concave cylindrical neck flares slightly towards the discoid lip from which rises a twisted arching handle with a suspension hole.
The bail-amphora is distinctive for its handle extending upwards. The workshops of the potters and painters of southern Italy produced vases for a Greek clientele established in coastal colonies such as Taranto, Metapontum and Cumae, as well as for the indigenous population. While most shapes in South Italian vase-painting have their origins in Attic models, the bail-amphora is indigenous and exclusively Campanian in origin.
Bail-amphorae are more commonly decorated in red figure with additional polychrome. This example is an elegant and minimalist purely black-glazed form. Cf. ‘Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Capua’, Museo Campano 3, IV.E.G.9, pl. 1307, 4.2 (inv. no. 8361).
For discussion of the form see M.E. Mayo, K. Hamma, ‘The Art of South Italy: Vases from Magna Graecia’, Richmond: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1982, no. 90, pp. 206-7.
Pierre Berès (1913 - 2008) Collection, Paris, acquired prior to 1970.
His estate sale; Christie's, Paris, ‘Berès A Livre Ouvert’, 12–13 Dec. 2012, lot 394 .
Pierre Berès was described shortly after his death as ‘a legendary figure in the world of art, collecting and publishing’. He was a friend of Picasso and Éluard, and the publisher of Barthes and Aragon, and a renowned bookseller and collector of works of the finest taste and connoisseurship.