Apollo Galleries to auction Ancient, Chinese & Islamic Art from fabled collections, March 27

antiquities ancient cultural art

Roman bronze Cupid statuette, circa 100 AD, 235mm high. Similar to example in collection of Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. Provenance: property of a London gentleman. Estimate $26,225-$52,450

LONDON – Apollo Galleries and Auctions, Britain’s premier source for expertly appraised cultural art and antiquities, takes pleasure in announcing highlights of their March 27, 2022 sale. The 488-lot Ancient, Chinese and Islamic Art Auction is divided into four sections that encompass a broad range of deeply provenanced artifacts covering the Classical European era and important civilizations of the Near East, Egypt, India and China.

488 lots of magnificent cultural artifacts were vetted by top experts, including renowned Egyptologist Laetitia Delaloye

Most of the items entered in the sale boast an illustrious pedigree and were previously owned by legendary collectors such as the late London barrister Alison Barker, John Lee, and other noted connoisseurs. In addition, many pieces have a history that includes prior sale at either Christie’s or Bonhams.

antiquities ancient cultural art

Greek Chalcidian bronze hoplite helmet with cheek guards, circa 400 BC and still in use at the time of Alexander the Great. Provenance: London private collector; European collection; Peter Ing; old Austrian collection. XRF report from Apollo Galleries lab. Estimate $26,225-$52,450

“No small detail was spared in preparing this exceptional sale, which I consider to be our best to date,” said Apollo Galleries director Dr Ivan Bonchev (PhD, University of Oxford). “In early February, we brought together most of our team of consultants to personally examine the entire auction selection. The team includes our consulting Egyptologist, Laetitia Delaloye, who began her career at Christie’s in 2007 and was appointed head of their London Antiquities department in 2016. She now shares her passion as an independent advisor to museums, collectors, dealers and other specialty businesses, including Apollo Galleries.”

antiquities ancient cultural art

A highlight of the Islamic Art section, a mamluk or earlier relief-carved wooden panel, possibly Ayyubid or Fatmid. Size: 390mm x 146mm. Accompanied by Art Loss Register Certificate. Provenance: private London collection, acquired by current owner’s father prior to 2000 from Oliver Hoare. Estimate $31,470-$62,945

The March 27 sale includes Apollo Galleries’ first-ever dedicated section of Islamic art, starting at Lot 359. The collection of artifacts ranges from gilded Qurans and photographic prints to copper flasks and door fittings. With a timeline that spans the early Middle Ages through 19th century, its highlights include Lot 360, a Mamluk carved wooden panel, estimate $31,470-$62,945; Lot 373, a rare Ottoman Quran signed and inscribed by Ahmed Nazifi, estimate $52,450-$78,680; and Lot 391, a circa-1900 prayer mat with provenance from an old European collection, estimate $31,470-$39,339.

antiquities ancient cultural art

Rare and important circa-1800 AD Ottoman Quran made by Ahmed Nazifi and written in Arabic Naskh script with floral polychrome medallions and verse markers. Signed and inscribed. Size: 156mm x 114mm. Provenance: private London collection, previously acquired from UK collector in 2002. Estimate $52,450-$78,680

Apollo’s four signature categories – Classical, Jewellery, Weaponry, and Asian Art – are beautifully represented in this auction. The Classical selection includes seven extraordinary marble sculptures, including Lot 4, a circa early 1st century BC marble relief stele depicting the gallery’s namesake, Apollo, on horseback and holding a double-headed axe known as a labrys. With provenance that includes the famed Morkramer collection (1960s, USA), it is estimated at $13,110-$26,225.

Following the sculptures is a collection of fine Greek pottery. Standouts include Lot 18, a profusely decorated Athenian stemmed kylix with horse and rider (ex-Royal Athena Gallery); and Lot 20, a circa 432-300 BC Apulian red-figure bell krater that comes with a TL testing report from the independent German testing laboratory Ralf Kotalla. Each has an estimate of $13,110-$26,225.

antiquities ancient cultural art

Greek Apulian red-figure wheel-thrown ritual krater (vase with ‘volute’ handles), image of ‘Lady of Fashion’ on verso, 680mm high. TL-tested by independent German laboratory Ralf Kotalla. Provenance: central London gallery; English estate collection; acquired in 1990s from Andre de Munter, Brussels; old European collection. Estimate $26,225-$52,450

Wonderful Egyptian antiquities include Lot 94, a circa 712-32 BC linen-wrapped mummified cat, formerly in Bill Jamieson’s collection in Canada. An X-ray can be seen alongside the cat, which was created to evoke Bastet, the feline goddess representing fertility and motherhood. Similar to an example auctioned by Bonhams on May 1, 2013, it comes to Apollo Galleries’ auction with a $19,670-$32,780 estimate.

antiquities ancient cultural art

Circa 1300-1100 BC Mitanni faience cylinder stamp depicting two standing figures by a stylized tree. The minor design consists of two pairs of recumbent quadrupeds. Accompanied by scholarly note from Professor Wilfrid George Lambert. Provenance: Important collection of a London doctor, thence by descent to his son. Formerly acquired in the 1980s on the UK art market. Estimate $525-$1,055

A special highlight of the sale is an assemblage of 16 lots of cylinder stamp seals (Sumerian, Neo-Assyrian, Old Babylonian, Anatolian, et al.), most of them accompanied by a signed scholarly note from Professor Wilfrid George Lambert. “Our last collection of this type, which was featured in our January sale, was extremely popular with bidders, so we are especially pleased to have secured a second consignment of these unusual and decorative items,” Dr. Bonchev said. Each lot is estimated at $525-$1,050.

antiquities ancient cultural art

Ancient Roman gold ring, circa 100-300 AD, with nicolo intaglio set in gold bezel. Glass stone engraved with scene of two roosters pulling a mouse in a chariot. XRF-analyzed. Provenance: London ancient art gallery; collection of London barrister Alison Barker (1951-2021). Estimate $7,870-$11,800

Apollo Galleries will also present a large selection of gold jewellery lots, many of them XRF tested to confirm the metallurgical content and suggesting they are, indeed, of ancient origin. Among the top lots are: Lot 181, a circa 700-500 BC Western Asiatic Holy Land hollow-cast gold priest statuette, $13,110-$26,225; and Lots 182 through 184, each of which contains an especially fine Greek Hellenistic gold agate-eye brooch. The highest-estimated design, a circa 300-100 BC brooch of hammered gold with an inset cabochon garnet, is expected to reach $13,110-$26,225.

antiquities ancient cultural art

Roman gold cameo pendant with bust of young female, possibly an empress, wearing draped robe and mantle, circa 100-300 AD, weight: 8.9g. XRF-analyzed. Provenance: London ancient art gallery; Alison Barker collection. Estimate $10,490-$15,735

The array of ancient weaponry includes bronze helmets with XRF reports from Apollo Galleries’ lab, and iron swords with full reports written by Apollo Galleries’ resident consultant Russel Scott. “We are particularly excited about Lot 258, a Greek Illyrian bronze hoplite helmet with a rich blue-green bronze patina,” Dr. Bonchev said. Similar to examples held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Louvre, its provenance can be traced back to 1968-69 and the German collection of Hans Hagmann. Estimate: $52,450-$104,900. Lot 274, a Medieval Crusader’s iron sword with a Celtic face stamp, most likely a maker’s mark, could brandish a winning bid of $7,870-$11,800.

antiquities ancient cultural art

Archaic Greek Illyrian hammered bronze hoplite (citizen-soldier) helmet, circa 600 BC, horizontal ribbing on crown; long, pointed cheek pieces, rich blue-green patina. Similar to examples held by Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Louvre. Provenance: London private collection, New York collection, acquired from German collection of Hans Hagmann in 1968-69. XRF report from Apollo Galleries lab. Estimate $52,450-$104,900

Asian art begins with funerary mingqi of the Tang and Han dynasties. These collector favorites are seen in the form of camels (Lot 429), horses and riders (see Lot 439-441); attendants, warriors, and dancers (Lots 449-454). Each of the lots comes with a TL certificate from Ralf Kotalla.

antiquities ancient cultural art

Bronze ritual wine vessel and cover (you), Late Shang-Early Western Zhou Dynasty. Kui dragon symbols of good fortune and royalty; twisted handle with stylized zoomorphic tapir-head terminals. Weight: 2.2kg. Provenance: private collection of London doctor, formerly in Somerset estate collection; acquired from Hong Kong gallery in early 1990s. Estimate $52,450-$78,680

The auction concludes with Gandharan (the oldest Buddhist art) sculptures, whose Kushan aesthetic reflects both the naturalism of classical Greek style and the serenity of Asian Buddhist art. An exquisite example of this hybrid influence is Lot 482, a circa 200-300 AD carved grey schist head of the goddess Hariti. It is similar to an example that was sold by Christie’s on March 20, 2008 and can be traced back to a European private collection of the 1970s. Its estimate is $26,225-$52,450.

antiquities ancient cultural art

Gandharan schist head of the goddess Hariti, circa 200-300 AD, richly carved in grey schist, of an aesthetic that combines naturalism of the classical Greek style with the serenity of Asian Buddhist art. Similar to example sold by Christie’s on March 20, 2008. Size: 310mm x 235mm. Provenance: collection of London gentleman; formerly acquired in early 2000s in Belgium; previously in 1970s European collection. Estimate $26,225-$52,450

Apollo Galleries and Auctions’ newly expanded venue is located at 25 Bury Place in the heart of London’s Bloomsbury district, opposite The British Museum. Their March 27, 2022 auction will commence at 8 a.m. US Eastern Time/1 p.m. GMT. View the fully illustrated auction catalogue and sign up to bid absentee or live online via LiveAuctioneers. The company accepts payments in GBP, USD, EUR and cryptocurrencies; and ships worldwide, with all packing handled by white-glove specialists in-house. Questions: call Apollo Galleries, London, on +44 7424 994167 or email info@apollogalleries.com. Online: www.apollogalleries.com

Apollo Galleries and Auctions is a member of the British Numismatic Trading Association (BNTA) and the Art Loss Register (AR).