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.
Image: A delicate wreath made of fine gold oak leaves with acorns. Estimate £100,000-120,000