Interesting Wreath Coming to Bonhams

From a Bonhams press release:

A delicate wreath made of fine gold oak leaves with acorns, of the type worn by Alexander the Great’s father, Philip II of Macedon, is one of the highlights of Bonhams sale of Antiquities on April 28 in New Bond Street.

This stunning artefact, estimate £100,000-120,000, may once have graced the head of a ruler or dignitary over 2,000 years ago. “The fact that this delicate collection of fine gold leaves and acorns formed into a wreath has survived the centuries is almost miraculous,” says Madeleine Perridge, Antiquities Specialist at Bonhams. Previously in a private collection since the 1930s, “it is a beautiful example of a type that is rare to the market.”

The sale also boasts a private English Collection of finely-painted Greek vases of exceptional condition. Previously exhibited at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, they are painted by leading artists from Classical Athens. They include:

An Attic red-figure stemless kylix by Douris, circa 480 B.C. showing a draped youth with defined musculature, standing in an Athenian wine-shop amongst large amphorae, (estimate £30,000-40,000). Exhibited in the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard from 1937, this drinking cup is a fascinating image of Athenian life in the Classical period.

An unusual intact Attic white-ground alabastron of the group of the Negro Alabastra, (circa 490-480 B.C.) showing a female figure walking to the right and turning to look back, draped in a chiton with himation and wearing a necklace and bracelet, holding a wreath in her right arm. A black lion walks behind her, with a palm tree on the far left, the word ‘KALOS’ (beauty) inscribed three times around the figure. Estimate £30,000-50,000. The name Melanphis Kale can be translated as ‘Black Flower’. Such alabastra were given as love gifts and the frequent use of ‘Kalos’ supports this.

An Attic red-figure lekythos finely painted by the Providence Painter, (circa 5th Century B.C.) depicts the god Eros as a young man, standing nude, in profile to his left, his wings behind him, holding a kithara in his left hand, a plectrum on a red ribbon in his right. Estimate £25,000-35,000

An Attic red-figure hydria in the manner of the Meidias Painter, (Circa 420 B.C.) depicts two Maenads draped in clinging diaphanous chitons, dancing away from each other while holding a number of ritual objects. It is estimated to sell for £25,000-35,000.

An unusual Attic stamnos painted in the rare Six technique, from the workshop of the Antimenes Painter, circa 510 B.C. showing Theseus and the Minotaur with Ariadne. Estimated to sell for £150,000-250,000, it was previously in the Ferrucio Bolla Collection in the 1950s and the Stavros S. Niarchos Collection, and it has been exhibited at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, in 1980.

via Glory that was Greece Seen in Golden Wreath and Greek Vases at Bonhams.

Here`s a photo of the wreath:

Bonhams photo

Here`s the Douris kylix (I`m assuming):

Bonhams photo

Press coverage:

Tiberius ‘Pendant’ Coming to Auction

Interesting item coming to auction … from the Telegraph; some excerpts:

Dug up by former brick layer Pete Beasley in 1999, it was discovered yards from a hoard of other artefacts that are now at the British Museum.

The jewel dates from the first century, measures just 2.5 inches in length and depicts an emperor – probably Tiberius – wearing a laurel wreath.

It is inscribed with the letters Ti CAESAR above the head and has a precious red stone below. There is a loop at the top, suggesting it may have hung from a necklace.

Experts believe it was made in Alexandria in Egypt and brought to the UK with some of the first Roman settlers.

It was found 10 inches down in a field about 20 yards from the rest of the hoard that consisted of over 250 coins, a torque and a ring.

Telegraph photo

Mr Beasley, 68, from Portsmouth, Hants, found the treasures in Alton, Hampshire, after years of digging in the area.

“It is associated with the so-called Alton Hoard that consisted of 256 coins and various other finds,” he said. “I found it afterwards about 25 yards away. When I dug it up it was covered in some tarry stuff.


“The British Museum kept the rest of the hoard but gave this back as they couldn’t date it accurately because there is nothing to compare it with.

“I have taken it to experts here, in Europe and Egypt and they all think it is Egyptian and dates from the first century, like the rest of the hoard.


“It is inscribed with the letters TI CAESAR and includes a red cornelian stone.

“The titular form Ti Caesar appears frequently on the coins of Tiberius while the bust is particularly evocative of that depicted on the Alexandrian coins

“The facial features are “pharaonic” in style, especially the mouth so an Alexandrian origin is possible and perhaps it was a donative offering piece. It is unparalleled and we are delighted to have it at our sale.”

The jewel goes under the hammer on March 19 at TimeLine auctions in London.

Not quite sure what’s “pharaonic” about this; the fact that the British Museum declined it is also concerning, I would think. Other than ‘cameos’, has anyone ever seen a piece of Roman jewellery which depicted an emperor/general? Could this be a phalera? And if it is, might it not be Claudius depicted?

via Roman jewel depicting emperor expected to sell for £50,000 | Telegraph.

UPDATE (03/20/10): it fetched a nice price:

Zeffirrelli Herm Coming to Auction

Can’t find anything to quote at Bonham’s yet on this, but it’s interesting:

A lovely Roman marble bust that film director, Franco Zeffirrelli gave as a wedding gift to friends who worked with him on the filming of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ will be sold at Bonhams next Antiquities Sale in London on April 28th.

Dating from the second century AD the Roman herm head traditionally used on the top of a pillar, is estimated to sell for £7,000 to £9,000. A wonderful photo of the bride and groom taken at their wedding with Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Zeffirelli will be sold with the bust they received from the film director.

A herm is a sculpted image of a god, thought to be originally Hermes. It stood in doorways, gardens or by the wayside for the protection of orchards and vineyards. There is also evidence that such an image was used in the performance of the ‘sacred marriage’ ritual in the Dionysiac mysteries connected with purification and fertility.

The filming of the ‘Taming of the Shrew’ in Rome in 1967 brought all these creative people together in a project that was critically acclaimed.

photo via Art Daily

more …

Medea Sarcophagus?

Killing some time at the end of the day, I’m looking at the recent results of Sotheby’s Classical auction … among the many interesting items therefrom is this bit of a marble sarcophagus, apparently depicting Medea and her two kiddies:


… which got me to wondering … other than perhaps a famous actor or someone who actually performed as Medea, why would you want this scene to be gracing your final resting place??