Ancient Animal Art Snapped Up

  • LONDON, United Kingdom
  • /
  • May 14, 2010

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A Collector’s Menagerie: Animal Sculpture from the Ancient World is an exhibition presented by Rupert Wace Ancient Art in London through May 28.

Within hours of the opening of the exhibition A Collector’s Menagerie: Animal Sculpture from the Ancient World, Rupert Wace Ancient Art had sold twenty-three of the eighty-seven works, including two crocodiles, to eager collectors.  (This represents 26.5% by number and 42.6% by value).

The exhibition, which is taking place at the Sladmore Gallery, 57 Jermyn Street, St. James’s, London SW1, opened to the public Wednesday (12 May) and will close on Friday 28 May 2010.

The collection of animal sculpture spanning over three millennia encompasses cultures from old Europe, the Classical world, ancient Egypt, the Near East and the Steppes civilisations of western China and illustrates the important role played by birds and animals in all these cultures.  This was particularly true in ancient Egypt and one of the first pieces to sell was an impressive bronze and wood sculpture of the sacred ibis, the avian manifestation of the ancient god Thoth, 715-332 BC, (asking price £120,000). 

Among other fine Egyptian pieces sold was an elegant example of perhaps the archetypal image of Egyptian animal art, a sleek and stately seated bronze cat, the animal manifestation associated with Bastet, an ancient goddess worshipped at Per-Bastet (Bubastis) in the Nile Delta.  Dating from 715-332 BC, this proud and inscrutable feline was acquired by a Swiss collector (asking price £75,000).  Sales also included a bronze statuette of an Apis bull, the double on earth of the creator god Ptah, 715-332 BC, to an American institution (asking price £65,000); a rare bronze crocodile, 332-30 BC (asking price £26,000); a bronze Horus falcon, 664-525 BC (asking price £35,000) and a gold amulet in the form of a vulture, c.1000-300 BC (asking price £18,000).  An early 4th century BC Phrygian, East Greek, terracotta relief of a bull being attacked by lions, an extraordinary and dramatic piece, was another early sale (asking price of £60,000).

The exhibition offers ancient jewellery, which can still be worn today, such as delightful Gallo-Roman bronze fibulae (brooches) inlaid with enamel, 2nd-3rd century, several of which sold immediately for prices ranging from £850 to £4,200 including depictions of a running hound, a bounding hare, a boar and a horse.  Collectors also acquired a Roman silver and inlaid gold fibula of a hippocamp from the same period (asking price £4,200), a Roman silver fibula of a fly or cicada, 4th-5th century AD, (asking price £28,000), and a charming Roman amethyst pendant in the form of a cockerel wrapped in a gold band, 2nd-3rd century AD, (asking price £9,500).

Rupert Wace, who has been dealing in antiquities for over 30 years, is delighted that these ancient and beautiful pieces still strike a chord with collectors today.


Sue Bond Public Relations
T: +44 (0) 1359 271085 F: +44 (0) 1359 271934


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