Apollo Art Auctions’ December 17 online-only event features expertly authenticated ancient art, artifacts and jewelry for every discerning collector
Stellar provenance and in-house curation support a confident and pleasurable bidding experience for all who appreciate fine treasures of the past
LONDON – Acquiring precious antiquities and cultural art is a year-round pursuit, not only for those who collect such objects, but also for interior designers who recognize the way in which an ancient artwork – whether a statue, tapestry or painted vessel – can elevate the tone of a room’s décor. Apollo Art Auctions serves as the trusted conduit connecting buyers with the rare and authentic pieces they desire. For the holiday season, the London-based firm is proud to present a December 17 online-only auction of expertly authenticated, well-provenanced artifacts from Classical Europe through Egypt and the Near East, as well as many art treasures of China, India and the Islamic world.
The 540-lot sale has been thoughtfully curated to ensure buyers at every level can acquire pieces of outstanding quality. For holiday gift-givers, Apollo has included a fine selection of ancient jewelry that includes gold earrings, pendants and rings, many of them adorned with garnets, amethysts and other stones; as well as brooches, bracelets, colorful beaded necklaces, and substantial silver designs by Viking artisans.
Nearly 60 lots of ancient Egyptian art will be auctioned, from faience ushabtis, beaded shrouds and other mysterious funerary objects to pottery and stoneware vessels. The Egyptian civilization’s advanced appreciation of aesthetics is well exemplified in a rimmed stone plate or tray whose surface displays a beautiful array of natural veins. Made circa 3000-2750 BC, it was formerly the property of a North London gentleman and, prior to that, was part of a private collection formed in Paris in the 1970s to 1990s. Its opening bid is set at £2,000 ($2,520).
Applied arts were at the center of Classical Greek culture, as well. An Attic red-figure krater with an attractive inverted bell-shape body dates to around the late 4th-3rd century BC and measures 290mm by 290mm (11.4in x 11.4in). Its richly painted program consists of a winged figure of Hypnos holding a trident on Side A; and a robed female, probably representing the deceased, on Side B. The design also incorporates two handles and flared pedestal foot. British and Continental European provenance can be traced back to its 1990s purchase in Paris. Opening bid: £2,000 ($2,520)
The sale will commence with a much earlier Greek production dating to circa 5th century BC: a rare and compelling bas-relief marble face with well-formed, nicely proportioned features. The work is mounted on an included custom-made stand. Its provenance includes the collection of a North London gentleman and, prior to that, a European collection and acquisition in Paris in the 1990s. The opening bid is £3,000 ($3,790).
From the Roman Imperial period, a circa 100-300AD marble funerary plaque serves as an eternal tribute to “ABURIA PROCULA” and is carved with three lines of Latin inscription. It measures 220mm x 330mm (8.7in x 13in). Most recently the property of a London gallery and previously acquired on the Dutch art market, it was also once owned by Cedric Renard, who obtained it on the Brussels art market in 1984. Opening bid: £2,000 ($2,520)
Apollo Art Auctions is known as a premier source for ancient Chinese pottery, including the ever-popular depictions of animal tomb figures. While handsome horses and braying camels are staples of any fine tomb-animal collection, there is always sure to be strong interest when other earthenware species appear at auction, such as dogs, goats or birds. The December 17 sale includes a marvelous circa 386-534 AD Northern Wei Dynasty terracotta ox with curved horns, an open mouth, and flared nostrils on an uptilted head. It stands 380mm by 420mm (15in by 16.5in) and weighs 5.38kg (11lbs 14oz). Precisely dated via TL analysis at Ralf Kotalla’s laboratory, it is similar to an example that sold at Christie’s on December 10, 2014. Prior to its ownership in an established English collection, it was acquired from Hong Kong’s Hollywood Antique Centre, in the early 1990s. Opening bid: £2,000 ($2,520)
Asian art offerings continue with a Gandharan schist stone carving of a haloed Buddha performing Twin Miracles, with flames emerging from the shoulders and water emitting from the feet. The figure stands 610mm (24in) tall and weighs 20kg (44lbs 2 oz). Its line of provenance includes the collection of a London gentleman; acquisition in the early 2000s in Belgium; and a 1970s European collection. Opening bid: £2,000 ($2,520)
A South Arabian cast-bronze protome – a decorative element in the form of the head and upper torso of a human or animal – appealingly depicts a lion with an abundant mane and open mouth. Created around the 2nd half of the 1st millennium BC, its height is 300mm (12in) and its weight is 2.5kg (5lbs 8oz). Most recently the property of a North London gentleman, it previously resided in a European collection following its purchase in Paris in the 1990s. Opening bid: £2,000 ($2,520)
Good things come in small packages, so the saying goes, and the auction’s ancient jewelry category presents bidders with a diverse selection of handcrafted adornments, each certain to please even the most discerning gift recipient. One example is a circa-400 BC Hellenistic carnelian intaglio portrait of a mature bearded man set in a gold ring of a later period. It has been held in successive British collections since its 1970s acquisition on the UK art market. It will open for bidding at £2,000 ($2,520).
Another wonderful jewelry highlight is the rare Byzantine gold ring dating to circa 1200 AD. Its rectangular bezel is carved with an “IC” monogram for Jesus and has a laurel-wreath inscription for “Scorpio.” The ring has been XRF tested and claims an illustrious provenance. Prior to its ownership by a London ancient art gallery, it was part of the celebrated collection of the late London barrister Alison Barker, who acquired it sometime between the early 1960s and 1990s. Opening bid: £1,000 ($1,260). Created around the same time as the ring, a rare and very charming Byzantine gold dove pendant is richly covered with triangles and rhombs formed of fine granules. It was previously the property of a West London gentleman, and before that, was part of a collection formed on UK/international art market in the 1980s. Opening bid: £900 ($1,135)
Apollo Art Auctions’ December 17 Ancient Art & Antiquities online auction will begin at 7 a.m. US Eastern Time/12 noon GMT. View the fully illustrated auction catalogue and sign up to bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers. The company accepts payments in GBP, USD and EUR; and ships worldwide. All packing is handled by white-glove specialists in-house. Questions: Tel. +44 7424 994167 or email [email protected]. Online: www.apolloauctions.com