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Genius & Art Rules and Models Destroy Genius & Art William Hazlitt (1778 –1830) On Taste

Suite 744, 2 Old Brompton Road, London sw7 3dq, uk Tel: 020 7413 9937, Fax: 020 7581 4445 Mobile: 07836684133 / 07768236921 Email: enquiries@finch-and-co.co.uk Website: www.finch-and-co.co.uk


[1] A Fine Rare South African Tsonga Zoomorphic Headrest Carved in the Form of a Male Antelope Superb old silky smooth light brown patina 19th Century

s i z e   : 15 cm high, 14.5 cm wide, 7 cm deep – 6 ins high, 5¾ ins, 2¾ ins deep p rov e na nc e : Ex Private Suffolk UK collection Headrests were very personal objects, aside from serving as a pillow and protecting ornate hairstyles, they became closely linked with the owner’s identity over a lifetime of use. Headrests bear either a covert or explicit resemblance to a bull and were given by a bride to her husband with the intention of recalling the gift of cattle that his family had given to hers in recognition of her worth, and as a way of sealing an alliance between the two families. A herd of cattle was the supreme symbol of social harmony, wealth, pride and power to the people of the cattle based migrant culture of Southern Africa. Caring for cattle determined the migratory nature of the groups existence, resulting in the construction of a set of beliefs coherent with this way of life. Reverence for the ancestors aligns with a profound respect for cattle, thus creating a symbolic world that reinforces and underpins the relationship between the group and its cattle, ancestors and the fertility required for future survival.


[2] A Rare Celtic Bronze Chariot Rein Guide in the Form of a Goddess with Prominent Breasts wearing a Torc around her neck the iron attachment peg still fastened to the base 2nd – 1st Century bc

s i z e   : 15 cm high, 9 cm wide, 4.5 cm deep – 6 ins high, 3½ ins wide, 1¾ ins deep 23 cm high – 9 ins high (with stand) p rov e na nc e : Ex Irish Private collection In the early encounters of the Celts and Romans it was the war chariot which most impressed and interested the Romans. The main use of the chariot in battle was to cause panic when the charioteers drove against the enemy lines at top speed, throwing javelins, and by speed and noise, terrifying the enemy. The strength of the Celtic attack lay in the ferocity of the first onslaught. It was a power generated by many things, a belief in an afterlife, a desire to gain glory and a battle hysteria created by the building crescendo of noise and chanting, often further enhanced by alcohol. According to the ancient Greek historian Diodorus Siculus: When going into battle the Gauls use two-horsed chariots which carry the charioteer and the warrior. When they meet with cavalry in war, they throw their javelins at the enemy, and dismounting from their chariots join battle with their swords. He also states that the Celtic Britons used chariots as the heroes of Greece are traditionally said to have done in the Trojan War such as at the battle of Telamon in 225 bc when the chariots were stationed on the wings and used as a means of transporting warriors to and from combat with the enemy. In Britain, Caesar’s chief opponent was able to muster four thousand chariots; a formidable sight.


[3] Rare Large Sailors Scrimshaw Panbone Plaque Engraved with an Arctic Scene of a Full Rigged Whaling Ship Sailing before an Iceberg the men in the crows nest with telescopes looking out for whales Early 19th Century

s i z e   : 24.5 cm high, 39 cm wide – 9½ ins high, 15¼ ins wide p rov e na nc e : Ex Private Irish collection The large flat thin slabs of panbone taken from a section at the rear of the sperm whale’s jaw were large enough to provide this panel and were a good surface on which the scrimshander could engrave whaling or whale related scenes. Except for the teeth, panbone was the favourite part of the sperm whale to scrimshand. Ship portraiture began in about 1800 and the portrayal of a ship and its gear was nearly always accurate for the scrimshanders knew their vessels exceedingly well after many long months at sea searching for their quarry. Scrimshaw was an integral part of daily life on board a whaler. It provided a physical and intellectual outlet as well as a social diversion amongst the crew. There was often no reward other than the pleasure of crafting and completing a piece and the joy received from giving it to a loved one. It was not often crafted for sale as the time involved would have made the cost prohibitive.


[4] A Walter Potter Anthropomorphic Taxidermy Tableaux of Two Red Squirrels Engaged in a Fencing Match Late 19th Century

s i z e   : 36 cm high, 61 cm wide, 14 cm deep – 14¼ ins high, 24 ins wide, 5½ ins deep p rov e na nc e : Purchased September 2003 at Bonhams Sale of the Contents of Mr Potter’s Museum of Curiosities at Jamaica Inn, Cornwall Ex English Private collection c f : Illustrated in Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy pg. 23, Dr Pat Morris 2013 The Austrian taxidermist Herman Ploucquet’s anthropomorphic tableaux shown at the Great Exhibition of 1851 was probably the first time such work had been seen publicly in Britain. His six tableaux illustrating the story of Reynard the Fox amused Queen Victoria and the general public, and may well have been the inspiration for Walter Potter’s work. Potter’s anthropomorphic tableaux were the most famous and distinctive items in his museum in Bramber, Sussex. It is for these intriguing and fascinating scenes mimicking human activity that he is best known and remembered today. Labelled by the Victorians as Humerous Taxidermy Potter’s tableaux remain inspiring social commentary on the human condition.


[5] An Unusual English Neo Classical Carved Ivory Oval Stemmed Sweetmeat Salver Circa 1790 – 1820

s i z e   : 7 cm high, 17.5 cm wide, 15.5 cm deep – 2¾ ins high, 7 ins wide, 6 ins deep In 1800 Robert Southey noted that in London the drawing room was the common place for banqueting or of eating the dessert. He reported that dry sweetmeats such as conserved French plums, apricots and almond biscuits were prepared by a member of the household kitchen staff experienced in the art of confectionery for social occasions, otherwise a professional confectioner was engaged. After finishing the earlier courses the guests would move to the drawing room where the desserts were displayed in all their colourful magnificence. They were not seated, but conversed as they stood or strolled about in the manner of a modern cocktail party. Horace Walpole, writing in 1758 referred to a banquet attended by the Prince of Wales at which even on the chairs were salvers and pyramids with candied fruit suckers, comfits, orange chips, strawberries and cherries. A small top salver had a large preserved fruit at its centre.


[6] A French Carved Ivory Bust of Voltaire (1694–1778) on ebony plinth Circa 1800 – 1820

s i z e   : 15 cm high – 6 ins high (including ebony socle) Voltaire, (François-Marie Arouet) was one of the dominant figures of the Enlightenment, due to his satirical wit, his enormous output, his capacity to mobilise public opinion and his relations with the great and famous figures of the day. He was born into a legal family and educated by Jesuits. As a young man he was quickly introduced at Court and began his literary career as a dramatist. In 1726–1729 he made an important visit and stay in England, writing a history of Charles XII and then turning to political comment with his Lettres Anglaises in 1734. Later his brilliant and scathing moral philosophy Candide was published in 1759. The favour of Madame de Pompadour at Versailles made him Court Historian. In 1750 he was invited to Berlin by Frederick II where he stayed until 1753. He used his prestige to save the lives and reputations of the Calas and Sirvin families, and 1763 produced his Treatise on Toleration. The great natural philosopher and humanist died in 1778.


[7] New Zealand Maori Whalers Skinning Knife the Whale­ bone Handle Carved with Hei-Tiki to each side the Steel Blade with Cutler’s Mark Otnes First Half 19th Century

s i z e   : 20 cm long – 8 ins long Maori chiefs and warriors, missionaries, whalers, runaway convicts and emigrants seeking a new life; from this mixture the foundations of the new nation of New Zealand were formed in the 1st half of the 19th century. In the years between Captain Cook’s circumnavigation in 1769 and the beginning of organised settlement, a single lifetime, the European impact on New Zealand was immense. The whalers reached New Zealand soon after Cook and were anchoring in the northern harbours before the end of the 18th century. Within the next 30 years their ships dropped anchor in the harbours of both islands and together with the British and American sealers, they left names, a language, and an influence. From their earliest acquaintance with ships the Maori became bold and eager travellers. Of fine physique they made good natural seamen, although to the Masters of the Ships they were regarded as savages and were often treated roughly. One Maori chief Tara, known as George, spoke fluent but coarse English that he had acquired from his intercourse with European sailors whilst he served on the whalers. His terrible and brutal treatment at the hands of a ship’s captain whilst he was ill on board ship was to occasion a massacre in the Bay of Islands in 1817. By 1830 shore based whalers were beginning to set up their stations. They had small resources, but instead of facing three years at sea in a whaler, a few men who were experienced in the business could make a living by joining together and working five months of the year in long boats. Right whales would come down the West Coast of the North Island and through Cook Strait to the eastern waters of the South Island from May to October, and from a point near New Plymouth to the farthest coasts of Otago and Southland, the longboats set out in pursuit. By 1844 when the industry had reached its peak 32 stations were operating 68 boats and employing 650 men, both Maori and Pakeha. The Maori worked as oarsmen in the long boats, an occupation at which they excelled, and later as harpooners. As many as 400 whales were taken in a good season. The industry lasted for about 20 years and as fewer whales came through the strait, whaling grew intermittent and gradually ceased.


[8] A New Zealand Maori Long Hand Club Taiaha of Rare Plain Form Old smooth silky rich brown patina 18th Century

s i z e   : 112.5 cm long – 44¼ ins long p rov e na nc e : Ex Private Scottish collection c f : Maori A. Hamilton Wellington N.Z. 1901, pg. 239 plate: XXVII Bottom example displays a similar plain head The taiaha is perhaps the most characteristic and pre-eminent weapon of the Maori who preferred hand to hand combat with long and short clubs to any other form of encounter. The taiaha also served the aristocratic rangatira as an emblem of rank, a symbol of authority and as an orator’s baton to flourish when he was speaking at tribal gatherings. It was used to add force to an argument or to accentuate an ovatorial flourish, and all understood the etiquette of the taiaha. Old taiaha were handed down as ancestral relics and used as oracles for divination. By performing the proper rituals it was believed that an old revered taiaha could prophecy the result of a battle. The club would be laid upon the ground whilst the chief performed the rites, and if the gods were propitious, the taiaha would turn itself slowly over before the eyes of the assembled tribe, to the utter confusion of the enemy. (History of the Maori’s, Judge Gudgeon 1885)


[9] A Large Medieval Gothic French Limestone Gargoyle of a Bat Eared Howling Hound standing with all four paws upon a bearded man Some slight damage to the lower jaw 13th / 14th Century

s i z e   : 133 cm long, 22 cm high, 28 cm wide – 52¼ ins long, 8¾ ins high, 11 ins wide p rov e na nc e : Ex Private Lincolnshire collection Gargoyles are distinct from other statuary because of their typically bizarre and exaggerated forms. As stylised representations of natural species these grotesques are frequently used in medieval gothic sculpture, painting and manuscript illuminations as symbolic icons. Bats, the largely misunderstood night flying mammals, figured prominently in demonic iconography and are often invoked in the form of gargoyles that appear to be dogs, cats and other domesticated animals. The suggestion of bat like ears on the head of a howling lithe, greyhound type of dog with powerful haunches and strong paws gripping the head of a bearded man portrays the torment the medieval mason found in the human condition. In Dante’s Inferno the souls of gluttons are described as howling like dogs. Medieval bestiaries tell of dogs that stayed howling by their murdered master’s side, stopping only to seize the murderer upon his reappearance and then continuing to howl. Fidelity and ferocity depicted in equal measure.


[10] Two Human Skulls from the French Pharmacy of the Abbé Gilbert Soury (1732–1810) the inventor of Jouvence de L’Abbé Soury and Tisane Des Deux Abbés Each with old paper labels inscribed Abbe Soury 347/6 and Abbe Soury 348/7 Old smooth polished patina 17th Century

s i z e   : 15 cm high, 20 cm deep, 13 cm wide – 6 ins high, 8 ins deep, 5 ins wide 16.5 cm high, 20 cm deep, 13 cm wide – 6½ ins high, 8 ins deep, 5 ins wide p rov e na nc e : Ex Private French collection, Ex Private English collection Gilbert Soury began his career as an apprentice to Father Delarue, a priest who taught him latin and introduced him to herbal medicine. He encouraged Soury to take Holy Orders and in 1764 he became Chaplain of the Priory Saint Adrien. The following year he was appointed Chaplain of St Anthony Chapel in the Church of Alizay where he remained for over 25 years caring for the sick. It was during this period that he invented his Tisane des deux Abbés a tea for two priests, in honour of Father Delarue and the famous linctus Jouvence de l’Abbé Soury which is a plant based medical preparation used for the treatment of poor venous circulation and is traditionally taken to reduce the feeling of heavy legs. In 1793 during the French Revolution he was taken by the San-Culottes to Evreaux and interned for refusing to take the oath. However, his medical reputation brings him to the attention of a revolutionary council member Robert Lindet, who consults him on a illness he suffers from, and has been told is incurable. The Abbé treats and cures him and in 1795 is released by order of the Committee of Public Safety. The Father resumes his ministry in Rouen where he secretly celebrates Mass at the back of a confectioner’s shop. These celebrations become so popular that he is told to leave the city by the council and he returns to his place of birth, Celloville, where he teaches healthcare through the use of plant based medicines. Father Soury died at Celloville in 1810 at the age of 77. His last words were ‘God put me on earth to alleviate the suffering of my fellow man’. After his death the recipes for his cures passed down through each generation of the family until in the mid 19th century his great nephew Maglorie Dumontier, a pharmacist in Rouen, began to manufacture them. In 1951 the French government authorised the products to be sold and distributed on the open market.


[11] A Fine South African Zimbabwe Shona Carved Wood Headrest Superb untouched smooth silky dark brown patina 19th Century

s i z e   : 12.5 cm high, 15 cm wide, 6.5 cm deep – 5 ins high, 6 ins wide, 2½ ins deep p rov e na nc e : Ex Ken Karner, Franschhoek, South Africa Ex Terence Pethica collection, UK c f : Published The Art of Southern Africa no. 45, pg. 112, Milan 2007 The abstract designs of these Shona headrests evoke the form of a human body. The triangle and circle motifs stretch up the vertical support units to touch the top where triangles are pierced and run across the smooth dark surface. The scarification to the top of this headrest imitates that found on the smooth skin of Shona women. The headrest makes this link real and visible as the designs cut into the upper surface would be imprinted onto the sleeping owner’s cheek.


[12] Two Fine Indo-Portuguese Ivory Mortars and Pestles Silky smooth honey coloured patina Cracks, abrasions, small chips First half 17th century

s i z e s   : 14 cm high, 8.5 cm dis. – 5½ ins high, 3¼ ins dis. / pestle: 11.5 cm long – 4½ ins long 17.5 cm high, 10 cm dia. – 6¾ ins high, 4 ins dia. / pestle: 19.5 cm long – 7¾ ins long p rov e na nc e : Ex Private European collection Published Portuguese Expansion Overseas and the Art of Ivory Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon June 25th 1991 pg. 200–201 A desire to dominate the maritime trade in spices brought the Portuguese to the Indian Ocean. During the 16th century a series of aggressive Portuguese commanders created the Estado da India composed of fortresses, trading posts and strategic coastal cities that ultimately reached from Mozambique to Macao. They established their state headquarters in Goa which remained in Portuguese hands until 1961. However, they never achieved a monopoly over the spice trade and within decades the Venetians had revived their land based trade, but the Portuguese did enter and dominate the field of luxury goods. The works of art that survive from the period tell of the extraordinary skills of the artists and craftsmen working in India and Sri Lanka. The Portuguese directed and instructed the manufacture of these exotic treasures exporting many back to Europe. The rapid development of their State of India was an astonishing accomplishment, especially in view of Portugal’s relatively small size and great distance from Asia.


[13] A Himalayan Nepalese Hindu Ritual Libation Horn the Copper Spout Formed as the Head of the Sacred Bull Nandin inlaid with Gold Silver and Turquoise the horn body with copper rim 17th Century

s i z e   : 13.5 cm high, 19 cm deep, 8 cm dia. – 5¼ ins high, 7½ ins deep, 3 ins dia. p rov e na nc e : Collected in Katmandu early 1960’s Ex Southern French collection Shiva is a living god. He is existence with all its paradoxes and beyond existence he is the indefinable absolute. The phallic linga is a symbol often carved in stone marking the presence of the invisible transcendental reality of Shiva. The word linga means sign and particularly refers to the male sign of sex, the phallus. In the world of Shiva the significance of the linga is comparable to that of the cross in the christian world. The immovable solid shape of the linga occupies the central position in the worship of Shiva. Post or pillar shaped it is carved of stone, wood or cast in metal and takes the form of an erect phallus. In a temple the linga is placed in the innermost sanctuary and one or four faces of the god may project from its shaft. Nandin the bull whose name means giving joy is carved in an image of a couchant bull and placed opposite the linga stone as he is Shiva’s devoted attendant. Ritual horns such as this contain perfumed oils that are used in ceremonies poured drop by drop over the linga stone whilst chanting and prayers take place. In Hinduism it is believed that no object in the world of Shiva is more sacred than the linga.


[14] Two Neolithic Nordic Boat Shaped Stone Axe Heads One of Black Basalt the smaller of Grey Porphyry Circa 2500 bc

s i z e s   : 21.5 cm long – 8½ ins long & 19 cm long – 7½ ins long p rov e na nc e : Found at Skaane, Sweden, early 20th Century Ex Private Irish collection Scandinavian neolithic weapons are meticulous copies in ground-stone of originals made out of copper. The extremely rare and precious copper axes were so admired and envied by the late Neolithic farmers of northern Europe that they made exact copies in stone. Although the metal axes were no sharper than flint implements they had a number of advantages besides their prestige value. They were not as brittle as stone and so did not easily chip, were more efficient for cutting wood and could be formed into a wide variety of shapes. Lastly worn out tools could be remelted and cast anew. In spite of all these advantages stone tools were only very slowly replaced by metal ones. Indeed, it was not until the last centuries bc when iron, a more abundant metal was introduced that the tradition of stone axes and implements was largely abandoned in Europe.


[15] Victorian Mahogany Cabinet of Materia Medica collection of Medicinal Plants and Substances lists detailing country of origin latin and common names chemical compositions with annotated plant family names added in ink A trade label to the top tray reading: Cabinet of Materia Medica for the Major Examination Published by Evans, Lescher and Evans, London; and Evans, Sons and Co, Liverpool Circa 1860 – 1880

s i z e   : 10.5 cm high, 38 cm wide, 27.5 cm deep – 4¼ ins high, 15 ins wide, 10¾ ins deep Materia Medica relates to the body of collected knowledge about the therapeutic pro­ perties of any substance used for healing. In the 1st century a d the ancient Greek physician Dioscorides wrote De Materia Medica, On Medical Material the first extensive pharmacopeia which historically became extremely important. It was still in use in 1600 a d and was the precursor to all modern pharmacopeia. The term Materia Medica was still in use until the 20th century when it was replaced by pharmacology. This cabinet was used as a Victorian teaching aid.


[16] An Ancient British Celtic Seated Sandstone Shrine Figure of a Divine Chieftain or Warrior God 1st Century bc – 1st Century ad

s i z e   : 55 cm high, 22 cm wide, 23 cm deep – 21½ ins high, 8½ ins wide, 9 ins deep 57 cm high – 22½ ins high (with stand) p rov e na nc e : Ex Private collection of a Yorkshire Nun The figure found in the garden of a Priory near Gargrave, Skipton and gifted to her Thence by descent c f : A similar ancient sandstone seated Goddess figure found deep in a well in Caerwent, South Wales. Now in Newport Museum, Gwent The Celts venerated therapeutic divinities placing stone reliefs and sculptures near healing waters, and Celtic shrines are nearly always associated with thermal cults. The cult of wells is extremely prevalent in Celtic mythology and so they frequently formed the focal point of a shrine. The Divine Warrior of the Celts was the protector of the tribe and ensurer of their martial success. He had a multiplicity of names, most usually that of The Fair Shining One (Belatucadros) or The Powerful One (Nodons). The Irish warrior God Nodons was connected with healing, hunting, the sun, water, dogs and fertility. Although the head is a recurrent symbol in Celtic art, human images are rare. The figure represents a god and spiritual leader and so realism is displaced by abstraction. Despite outward changes in image and ritual, the act of invocation of the source of life has never wavered. Wells once sacred to the Celts are still venerated today; Christianised under the name of British and Irish Saints.


[17] A Fine Victorian Taxidermy Specimen of a New Zealand North Island Kiwi Apteryx Australis Mantelli Contained within a cased diorama A label to the painted backdrop W. Bannister No 27 Upper St James’s Street Brighton Circa 1860 s i z e   : 50 cm high, 46 cm wide, 18 cm deep – 19¾ ins high, 18 ins wide, 7 ins deep Named Kiwis long ago by the Maori because of their shrill piping calls, Kiwis are shy and retiring birds, rarely seen, spending their days hidden in burrows or under spreading kauri tree roots, coming out to forage only at night. The smallest of the primitive flightless birds, their closest relatives seem to be the extinct moas that shared New Zealand with them about 700 years ago. Strangely un-birdlike in appearance, their long coarse plumage completely hides their rudimentary two inch wings under which there is a bare patch. It is into this that they tuck their head and bill when sleeping. They are the only birds whose nostrils open at the very tip of the bill giving them a keen sense of smell which most other birds lack, and which aids them in their hunt for worms and grubs. Their poor eyesight is compensated for by long hairy bristles at the base of their long bill, which are thought to have a tactile function. Kiwis nest in underground burrows with the male performing all the duties of incubating. The chalky white eggs are comparatively enormous, weighing almost one pound, a fourth of the females body weight. Only one egg is usually laid which takes 75 to 80 days to hatch. With the exception of the American eagle, no bird has become more symbolic of its homeland, appearing on coins and postage stamps, and acting as a trademark and advertising icon. However, they are now severely endangered in the wild due to the destruction of their primeval forest habitat by clearing for agriculture, and the introduction of non-indigenous species such as weasels, stoats, cats and opossums.


[18] An Ancient New Zealand Maori Greenstone Short Hand Club Mere Pounamu the short handle pierced with an old stone drilled hole An old handwritten label Tiki Pounomou in Maninarangi Greenstone Lustrous old smooth silky patina 18th Century

s i z e   : 24 cm long – 9½ ins long c f : Edge Partington 1969 1:375.2. Christy Collection Acquired Before 1862:66.16 in British Museum. st 830 These short thick bladed hand clubs were carried thrust into a war belt or held with the aid of a dog skin thong around the wrist and used for jabbing and slicing blows to the vital points of the head and body. Fine greenstone clubs such as this passed down from generation to generation acquiring mana through historical association. They usually had personal names and particular virtues. The mere pounamu of Chief Te Rauparaha was called Tuhiwai and had the power to foretell the future by means of change of colour. If a weapon had lain on the corpses of many successive owners it carried their mana and its loss caused sorrow, but its return to tribal possession was an occasion for celebrations. Weapons of such special merit or lineage were carefully wrapped and stored in carved boxes and hidden in a secret place until required. The fame of a greenstone mere was sometimes so great that prisoners of war asked to be killed by it, a request which any chief with dignified manners would grant if he considered the prisoner worthy.


[19] An English Carved Ivory Bust of William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) on an ebony plinth First Half 19th Century

s i z e   : 15 cm high – 6 ins high (including ebony socle) Although Shakespeare was arguably the greatest dramatist of the English language, nothing is known of his beginnings as a writer, nor when or in what capacity he entered the theatre. The first printed allusion to him is from 1592 in the pamphlet Greenes Groats-worth of Witte, its mention of an upstart crow who supposes he is well able to bombast out of a blanke verse as the best of you and who is in his owne conceit the onely Shakes-cene in a country suggests rivalry, and parody of a line from Henry VI shows that Shakespeare was established on the London literary scene. He was a leading member of the Lord Chamberlains Men soon after their re-foundation in 1594. With them he worked and grew prosperous for the rest of his career as they developed into London’s leading company, occupying the Globe Theatre from 1599, becoming the King’s Men on James I’s accession in 1603 and taking over the Blackfriars as a winter house in 1608. London became Shakespeare’s professional base, but his family and home remained in Stratford where he is buried in the Holy Trinity Churchyard.


[20] A South German Carved Bone Rosary Bead Memento Mori depicting the Head of Christ and a Skull 17th Century

s i z e   : 3.5 cm high, 3.5 cm deep, 3 cm wide – 1¼ ins high, 1¼ deep, 1 ins wide s e e : Finch & Co catalogue no. 7, item no. 70, for an Italian example The large central carved bead of the rosary would mark the end of a cycle of prayer and the beginning of the next naturally prompting the worshipper to remember me. Rosaries assisted the devoted in accurately repeating from memory the correct number of prayers and incantations required by his faith. The 11th century bequest of Lady Godiva to the monastery of Coventry includes a circlet of gems which she threaded on a string in order that by fingering them one by one as she successively recited her prayers, she might not fall short of the exact number.


[21a] A South African Shona / Tsonga Carved Wood Headrest of Architectural Form Superb old smooth rich brown patina 19th Century

s i z e   : 11 cm high, 13.5 cm wide, 5.5 cm deep – 4¼ ins high, 5¼ ins wide, 2¼ ins deep p rov e na nc e : Ex Private English collection s e e : Finch & Co catalogue no. 7, item no. 28, for another example


[21b] A South African Shona / Tsonga Carved Wood Headrest of Architectural Form Old silky smooth dark brown patina 19th Century

s i z e   : 13.5 cm high, 14 cm wide, 7 cm deep – 5¼ ins high, 5½ ins wide, 2¾ ins deep Headrests are often used by men to protect their elaborate hairstyles and over time the wood becomes saturated with hair oils giving a dark, smooth and glossy patina to the surface. Headrests act as a support of dreams. They are important instruments of mediation between the living and the ancestors, and gradually became the sleeping user’s spiritual representative.


[22] Fine Ancient Celtic Carpathian Spiral Bronze Arm Ring of Geometric Form with Scored Ornament to the Hoops Old green smooth patina Middle Bronze Age 1600 – 1200 bc

s i z e   : 14.5 cm high, 12 cm dis. 11 cm deep – 5¾ ins high, 4¾ ins dia., 4¼ ins deep p rov e na nc e : Ex Dutch Private collection Ex Frederick Schultz New York 1997 Ex Irish Private collection c f : A similar example of 13th Century bc in the British Museum, P1 1974.12 – 1.269 formerly in the Pitt Rivers collection The technique of bronze casting enabled the Bronze Age craftsman to develop a broad range of forms. Great pleasure was taken in the spiral motif during this period and it has been determined that this particular form of ornamentation applied to bronze and other objects originated in the eastern Mediterranean region. Arm rings such as this were used as jewellery in the European Bronze Age, and may also have functioned as special purpose or ritual currency. Found mostly in grave contexts, it is certain that these magnificent creations in both bronze and precious metals identify persons of high rank.


[23] An American Sailors Scrimshaw Narwhal Tusk Walking Cane with an unusual carved walrus tusk portrait head handle First Half 19th Century

s i z e: 85.5 cm long – 33¾ ins long p rov e na nc e: Ex Private Derbyshire collection CITES Article 10 documentation available Scrimshaw as the art of the whale-man flourished and reached its pinnacle at the hands of the American south-sea whale-men in the first half of the 19th century. The product of idle hours on endless cruising searches for the elusive leviathan, it became a unique nautical folk art. Hundreds of American whaling vessels roamed the oceans carrying thousands of sailors each of whom would probably try their hand at the art. Many came from foreign ports, from Africa to the Pacific Islands, Hawaii supplying many native green hands. Eventually the typical whaling crews became a sort of seagoing United Nations in miniature with only the officers on board American nationals. Many examples of skilled ornamented scrimshaw were created for the sheer joy of such elaboration and as a testament to the creator’s skill. Such decorative pieces were meant to be seen and treasured, rather than used.


[24] A Fine Western Australian Aboriginal Carved Wood Slab Shaped Shield Decorated with Incised Zig-Zag Grooves rubbed with Red Ochre and Sooty Pigments 19th Century s i z e   : 65.5 cm long, 11 cm wide – 25¾ ins long, 4¼ ins wide p rov e na nc e : Private Oregon collection, USA The Australian Aborigines lived in a country where agriculture was not practised and where no animals except for the dingo dog were available for domestication. So they were forced to remain hunters and gatherers. Consequently much time was spent making and decorating weapons which they mainly used for hunting. The arsenal of the aborigine consisted of boomerangs, shields, clubs, throwing clubs, sticks, spears and spear throwers, all of which were made from wood. These flat slab shaped shields were used for protection from spears and boomerangs, although inter-tribal warfare was uncommon and most personal disputes were settled by ritual contest.


[25] A Fine and Large South German Carved Walnut Panel Depicting the Image of Christ upon the Shroud of Turin being held aloft by the hands of St Veronica Extensive traces of polychrome Early 17th Century

s i z e   : 58 cm high, 49 cm wide – 22¾ ins high, 19¼ ins wide 68 cm high – 26¾ ins high (with stand) p rov e na nc e : Ex Private Southern French collection The Shroud of Turin, a linen sudarium cloth discovered in the 15th century, is believed by many to bear the imprint of the face and wounds of Christ. This miraculous true likeness occurred when St Veronica wiped the face of Christ on the road to Calvary when he fell under the weight of the cross. Regarded as a physical relic of Christ’s passion and an aid to empathetic meditation, the Shroud was brought to Turin in 1578. It became the most treasured relic of the House of Savoy, the rulers of Piedmont, and in 1694 was placed in a special shrine in the spectacular Royal Chapel of the Cathedral of Turin. In 1670 the Congregation of Indulgences granted an indulgence not for venerating the cloth as the true shroud of Christ, but rather for meditating on the Passion, especially his death and burial.


[26] An Ancient Egyptian Mummified Body of a Hawk Sacred to the God Horus contained in a Victorian wooden case An old paper label to the reverse: Mummified Hawk from a Tomb in the Valley of the Kings near Thebes about 5000 bc Late Dynastic Period / 747 – 332 bc

s i z e   : case: 8.5 cm high, 30.5 cm wide, 21 cm deep – 3¼ ins high, 12 ins wide, 8¼ ins deep p rov e na nc e : Ex Private Oxford collection During the late Dynastic Period in ancient Egypt a catacomb was constructed at Saggara specifically for mummified hawks sacred to Horus. Recent examination of a number of these mummies has shown them to comprise a number of different types of birds of prey. The Horus-falcon image may therefore have been regarded as interchangeable with a whole range of other birds of prey.


[27] An Ancient Egyptian Carved Alabaster Canopic Jar Lid in the form of a Falcon Head The schematic features representative of the God Qebhsenuef Late Dynastic Period / 730 – 332 bc s i z e   : 13 cm high, 10.5 cm dia. – 5 ins high, 4 ins dia. p rov e na nc e : Ex Private collection Julian Bird, UK The falcon was one of a number of birds which figured among the sacred animals of ancient Egypt. The falcon or hawk was frequently regarded as the Ba of Horus, the hawk-headed god and son of Osiris, to whom the bird was also sacred. The Horus-falcon was the guardian deity of the ruler and is often depicted with its wings outstretched protectively behind the head of the Pharaoh. Canopic jars were stone, ceramic or wood vessels used for the burial of the viscera removed during mummification. Specific elements of the viscera were placed under the protection of four anthropomorphic genii known as the sons of Horus, who were themselves protected by tutelary deities guarding the four cardinal points. The falcon headed Qebhsenuef who was linked with Serket and the West, looked after the intestines.


[28] A New Zealand Maori Sickle Shaped Whalebone Short Hand Club Wahaika an open worked Tiki image carved to the side the butt with open-worked Manaia face First Half 19th Century

s i z e   : 28 cm long, 9.5 cm wide – 11 ins long, 3¾ ins wide p rov e na nc e : Ex Private European collection Three types of short hand club made from whalebone were used by the Maori in traditional warfare. The wahaika has a form which is said to resemble a sickle with the distinctive feature of a small human image or tiki carved to the side. This club appears to have developed from the Kotiate when one of its lower lobes was carved into a human image. This tiki added mana or power to the weapon making it more effective in use. Whalebone, the panbone or lower jaw of the sperm whale, was a favoured material for war clubs because of its strong texture and crisp designs could be carved on it. Whales were always valued as an abundant source of meat, teeth and panbone. Pre-contact, the Maori had no means of hunting whales and would wait for them to become stranded on beaches which was a seasonal occurrence. Magical amulets were used to bring the whales ashore in the form of mauri.


[29] A Massive Taxidermy Head of a Victorian Nile Crocodile Crocodylus Niloticus Mounted as a wall bracket Circa 1860 – 1880

s i z e: 86.5 cm high, 48 cm wide, 29 cm deep – 34 ins high, 18¾ ins wide, 11½ ins deep p rov e na nc e: Reputedly from the Private collection of the Taxidermist Roland Ward Ex Private European collection The Nile crocodile is the second largest extant reptile in the world after the salt water crocodile. They are capable of living for over 100 years and their virtually indiscriminate diet has given them a deserved reputation as vicious man-eaters. They can weigh up to 730 kilos and grow to about five to six metres long. Although most reptiles lay their eggs in a secure place and leave them to hatch, Nile crocodiles ferociously guard their nests until the eggs hatch and both parents can be seen rolling the eggs gently in their mouths to help their young emerge. Sacred to the ancient Egyptians the Nile crocodile was once a common sight in Africa, but pollution, hunting and habitat loss have severely depleted their numbers.


[30] A Pair of Viking Migration Period Zoomorphic Hawk Shaped Silver Gilt and Garnet Inlaid Geometric Brooches 5th – 7th Century ad

s i z e   : 6.5 cm high, 3 cm wide – 2½ ins high – 1 ins wide p rov e na nc e : Ex Irish Private collection During the closing years of the 7th century ad the flow of Byzantine gold into the western kingdoms had ceased and so henceforth the predominant medium for jewellery was to be silver which reached Europe in vast quantities from the Arab Empire during the viking period. Gold, although still popular was chiefly reserved for gilding, inlays and small objects such as finger-rings. The inlaying of jewellery with richly coloured stones, especially garnets, was a striking feature of the migration period following the collapse of the Roman Empire. This practise combined with an obsessive use of surface ornamentation made jewellery both colourful and intricate, the interlaced lozenges resembling filigree work. From the beginning of the migration period zoomorphic decoration was a major feature on viking metalwork and animal ornament continued in an unbroken tradition until the end of the viking age. It can be seen on brooches such as these, on swords, pendants and helmets and it is remarkable in its modernity and for its teasing of human vision, often degenerating into patterns which can only be recognised by the trained eye.


[31] A British or Irish Iron Age Celtic Silver Torc with Incised Geometric Decoration Smooth encrusted grey patina 500 – 1st Century bc

s i z e   : 15.5 cm dia. – 6 ins dia. p rov e na nc e : Ex Private collection, Oxford UK The torc or neck-ring is often regarded as the principal and iconic piece of jewellery manufactured and used by the Celts. Classical writers mention torcs being worn by naked Celtic warriors in battle, but those found in graves occur only around the necks of women or girls. Torcs were also worn by women around the upper arm and sometimes around the waist. Torcs had a symbolic value as indicators of the social standing of the owner and were also valued for their precise metal content, providing the Iron Age Celts with a dual purpose object. However, the torcs that occur in hoards were most probably not used as prestigious jewellery, but only as ritual currency on special ceremonial occasions.


[32] Rare South African Tsonga Carved Redwood Headrest of Anthropomorphic Form decorated with Pokerwork Fine old smooth dark brown patina 19th Century

s i z e   : 14.5 cm high, 18.5 cm wide, 8 cm deep – 5¾ ins high, 7¼ ins wide, 3 ins deep p rov e na nc e : Ex Jonathan Lowen collection, London Ex Terrence Pethica collection c f : Published The Art of Southern Africa no. 84, pg. 174, Milan 2007 Amongst the Tsonga, the carving of wood was an exclusively male occupation and the types of objects carved, such as meat dishes, milk pails, headrests and staffs were strongly associated with men, their cattle and the ancestors. The human head of this headrest is attached to a powerful quadruped’s body, and is wearing a head-ring. The detailed male genitalia suggests the body of a bull, reflecting the importance of cattle to the Tsonga and their economy. The iconography suggests that this headrest most probably belonged to a man of status and high rank, as the control of cattle was always undertaken by men.


[33] A Rare Ancient Egyptian Ivory Figure of a Nude Female Probably a Mirror Handle New Kingdom 1550 – 1069 bc

s i z e   : 8 cm high, 3 cm wide, 2 cm deep – 3 ins high, 1¼ wide, ¾ ins deep 15 cm high – 6 ins high (with stand) p rov e na nc e : Ex collection Henry Bond acquired whilst stationed in Egypt with the Berkshire Yeomanry 1918 Thence by descent Ex English Private collection Mirrors occur in Ancient Egypt from at least as early as the Old Kingdom. Consisting of a flat polished disc, mirrors were endowed with great magical potential because of their power to hold the user’s image. This power is embodied in the Egyptian word for mirror Ankh which is also the ancient Egyptian word for life. Symbolising the sun, the mirror disc was made of polished bronze, silver or copper with a handle in alabaster, ivory, wood, bronze or bone. Naked women were often used as decorative elements on toilet objects, particularly during the reign of Amenhotep III (1390–1352 bc), and were related to the image of the goddess Hathor, whose association with physical beauty and procreation rendered her an ideal ornament for mirror handles.


[34] An English Memento Mori Slate Tombstone incised and relief decorated with a large winged Angel wearing a rosary bearing the inscription Remember Death a hand to each side carrying a palm leaf Early 18th Century

s i z e   : 39.5 cm high, 86.5 cm wide, 2.5 cm deep – 15½ ins high, 34 ins wide, 1 ins deep p rov e na nc e : Ex English Private collection s e e : Finch & Co catalogue no. 23, item no. 45, for an English limestone grave marker Symbolism and allegory were part of the iconography of funerary monuments from the earliest times. English craftsmanship and sculpture can easily be studied in churches and churchyards, and one can trace a continuous artistic impulse to represent complex beliefs and abstract concepts in concrete visual terms. Fashions in the use of symbols and allegory naturally altered from period to period in accordance not only with the rise and decline of particular artistic styles, but also with changes in religious and intellectual attitudes. Slate was a soft enough material for cutting without undue labour and fine enough to allow delicate flourishes. It gave the slate cutter the opportunity to develop and form a craft in the English vernacular tradition. Tomb and headstones are visible links between the living and the dead. In this form of art there is a reminder to those who come after us of their own mortality and of the frailty of all human life. Angels are portrayed as winged human beings on these tombs. They are mystical beings whose role is to intercede directly and individually between God and humanity. Their name comes from the Greek word for messenger and as such they act as instruments of God as announcers of wrong-doers. The palm leaf is associated with victory and is a symbol of Jesus’ victory over death, and of the christian’s victory over sin, the world and the devil.


[35] A Rare Ancient Bering Sea Eskimo Okvik Walrus Ivory Shamanic Female Figure with a raised open lipped mouth The body incised with fine lines The outer skin worn by gravel 200 bc – 100 ad

s i z e   : 11 cm high, 4 cm wide, 2.5 cm deep – 4¼ ins high, 1½ ins wide, 1 ins deep p rov e na nc e : Collected on St Lawrence Island Ex Private American collection Okvik means the place where walrus come on land and refers to the site on the largest of the Punuk Islands where much of this early art was found. The unusual feature of the raised open lipped mouth of this figure may represent a chanting, singing shaman with the incised linear lines on the body suggesting tattoos and amulet straps. These forms of traditional adornment were thought to work as vehicles for transforming the body either through aesthetic or ritual means. This powerful statuette was probably a guardian spirit. On St Lawrence Island guardian spirits communicated with their human companions in dreams and advised them of specific ceremonial activities to avoid sickness or to bring the family success in hunting. In such cases these figures would act as spiritual assistants to provide their human master with a means to intervene in the cosmos.


[36] French Stereoscopic Viewer with a Collection of Twenty Three Original Glass Slides Twelve depicting scenes in the Peking Imperial Palace, Pagoda and Temple with Tibetan Lamas ceremonially dancing and performing rituals Ten depicting interiors of Pagoda’s and Palaces and one of Kamakunda Japan Perhaps by Pierre Henry Voland Circa 1860 – 70

s i z e   : 9.5 cm high, 16.5 cm wide, 13.5 cm deep – 3¾ ins high, 6½ ins wide, 5¼ ins deep p rov e na nc e : Ex Private Southern French collection Stereoscopic photography enjoyed great popularity in mid 19th century France. Theories which compared lenses to the human eye led to the invention of stereoscopy; a simple device for taking pictures with two lenses and for viewing them with two eye pieces, thereby creating an illusion of depth. It became a feature of French middle class drawing rooms during the Second Empire and went on enlivening long evenings until the end of the century. Stereoscopy opened peoples minds to a fuller, more accurate knowledge of the world which was destined to systematic photographic coverage. The stereoscopic effect is produced by two slightly dissimilar photographs taken from view points 10 cm to 20 cm apart. The illusion of depth does not appear without the addition of a binocular viewing device. Stereoscope in hand, the spectator is cut off from the world in their own silent theatre in front of a stage that reconstitutes the dimensions of the real world. It is hard to imagine the fascination with which stereoscopy gripped the 19th century viewer, but even in today’s image saturated culture the effect is still surprising and quite magical.


[37] Two English Silver Mounted Hunting Hangers

[a] : With a curved tapering blade double edged at the point incised on each side with gilt foliage against a finely punched ground inlaid with three comet marks in copper on one side with a fine agate grip to the hilt encased in a deep silver collar with engraved foliate borders the short silver quillons with vertically recurved lobed tips [b] : With the curved single edged blade signed John Ellet Cutlor in Chaing Ally etched on both sides with a running long dog and scrolling foliage a fine tapering agate grip with a silver collar chased with a profile the foliate engraved silver quillons with helmeted head terminals and silver pommel finial to match with original silver mounted wood lined leather scabbard Chaing Alley near Lombard Street was in the Parish of St Mary Woolnorth North Precinct Ward of Longbourne in the City of London Late 17th Century s i z e : [a] : 56 cm long – 22 ins long [b] : 64 cm long – 25¼ ins long Coming from the Dutch word Hangher hangers were a type of short sword hung from a belt. No other European hunting blade has experienced such a comprehensive cultural and artistic development. Until the end of the Middle Ages weapons used on the battlefield and those used for hunting were very similar but with the spread of firearms in the Renaissance weapons of war became very different. The hunting hanger was also a status symbol. Sometimes their ivory or agate handles would be richly embellished with jewels proudly displayed in sets of engraved steel hunting accessories and worn at the belt by royal European princes. Hunting and forestry officials could be distinguished by the design of their hunting swords and their manner of wearing them. Swords with cross guards and slightly curved blades were used by hunters of lower game whose task it was to cut up the carcasses. Today hunting has not lost its cultural significance, although it has, over the course of thousands of years of history, lost its vital role in human survival.


[38] An Ancient Romano-Celtic Limestone Head of a Woman Probably a Funerary Monument 2nd – 3rd Century ad

s i z e   : 30 cm high – 12 ins high / 36 cm high – 14¼ high (with base) p rov e na nc e : Found at the Base of an old wall Scotland 1950’s Ex Scottish Private collection c f : Pagan Celtic Britain A. Ross London 1967 Illustrations 25A & C, 29C The Human head was regarded by the Celts as being symbolic of divinity and otherworld powers. Although this belief was not peculiar to them, it was much more pronounced amongst the Celtic peoples. They incorporated the head in their art, venerated it in their religious practices and regarded it as an object of supernatural regard. The ancient writers Diodorus and Strabo both refer to the Celtic custom of embalming the heads of their most distinguished enemies in cedar oil. These were then preserved in a chest and exhibited to strangers with great pride as insignia of military prowess. Their owners often refused to part with them even for their weight in gold so highly were they esteemed. The motif of the severed head figures throughout the entire field of Celtic cult practice, temporally and geographically, and it can be traced in both representational and literary contexts from the very beginning to the latter part of their cultural tradition.


[39] A Pacific Santa Cruz Islands Tridacna Clam Shell Breast­ plate Tema decorated in abstract fretwork design of turtle shell Late 19th – Early 20th Century

s i z e   : 15 cm dia. – 6 ins dia. p rov e na nc e : Ex Private collection of Anthropologist Dr James Spillius Disc shaped ornaments of white clam shell decorated with cut turtle shell motifs are made throughout the Solomon, Santa Cruz and Admiralty Islands and Papua New Guinea. Commonly known as kap kap they were worn on the forehead or suspended around the neck. They were the property of high ranking individuals and acted as symbols of status. Tema from Santa Cruz are made from the same materials used for kap kaps in the Solomon Islands, but instead of the large intricate radial openwork discs of the turtle shell which overlap the entire surface of the kap kap, the tema is ornamented by a smaller turtle shell carving that combines symmetrically arranged vertical compositions of angular motifs. The diversity of motifs found on the fretwork turtle shell designs indicate a meaningful anthropomorphic imagery. The curved and winged motifs suggest the bodies of fish or frigate birds meeting amongst abstracted waves. Although the design varies from one to another it always resembles an abstracted fusion of frigate bird and fish forms. The Pacific frigate bird is not a fishing bird but an aggressor which swoops, intimidates and steals prey from the fish hawks and terns. It is to the fisherman of Santa Cruz and the Solomon Islands a cloud animal, one of the patterns identified and seen by men on a fishing expedition in the clouds.


[40] A Rare Victorian Taxidermy Specimen of a Two-Headed Ayrshire Bull Calf A brass label attached reading Mine’s A Double 19th Century

s i z e   : 28 cm high, 28 cm wide, 23 cm deep – 11 ins high, 11 ins wide, 9 ins deep p rov e na nc e : Found on the wall of a redundant Lancashire Pub Ex Private English collection Natural curiosities were very popular with the Victorians and genuine grotesque mutations of domestic animals occurred more frequently in the 19th century due to inbreeding and a restricted gene pool for prize stock. Few of the animals survived for very long after birth, but some, like this calf, lived for a few weeks or months. Walter Potter had a startling variety of freaks in his Bramber village museum with multilegged creatures being a speciality of his. Local people would bring him specimens and Potter would accept them, taxidermy and display them in order that he would be offered more!


[41] An Ancient Greek Marble Fragment of the Head of a Youth Perhaps Hermes 4th Century bc

s i z e   : 8 cm high – 3¼ ins high / 14 cm high – 5½ ins high (with base) p rov e na nc e : Ex Private Sussex, UK collection Acquired early 20th century Thence by descent Hermes was the messenger of the Gods who often led men astray. He was looked upon as the patron of good luck and fortune as he had invented the game of knuckle bones and the art of divining by them. As the patron of merchants he is credited with inventing weights and measures. Hades engaged him as his herald to summon the dying gently and eloquently by laying his golden staff upon their eyes. As a psychopompos he was a leader of souls escorting the dead to the underworld of Hades. He also assisted the Three Fates in the composition of the alphabet, invented astronomy, the musical scale, the arts of boxing and gymnastics and the cultivation of the olive tree!


[42] Ancient Roman Wall Painting a Fragment of a Colourful Painted Frieze Depicting an Ornate Acanthus Leaf contained in Georgian Mahogany box frame Probably from Pompeii in the 3rd Style 1st century ad

s i z e   : 8.5 cm high, 9.5 cm wide, 3.5 cm deep – 3¼ ins high, 3¾ ins wide, 1¼ ins deep p rov e na nc e : Ex Private collection, Oxford UK The name of Pompeii means something to every educated European. Since the middle of the 18th century the discoveries around Vesuvius have aroused curiosity in both scholars and collectors. The initial finds came by the chance sinking of a well and the ancient sculpture, decoration and objects that came to light transformed the contemporary knowledge of classical antiquity. The unprecedented quality and quantity of wall painting was a revelation as not a single example had ever been discovered in Rome. Indeed, it was Pompeii that revealed how ordinary citizens, as well as wealthy merchant families, lived. Goethe, during his eagerly awaited journey to Italy, visited the houses that has recently been unearthed and was greatly disappointed referring to them as dolls houses. He was much more impressed by the majesty of the temples in Paestum, conforming to the ideal concept of the classical and the picturesque. Pompeii has a double significance as it represents a society which was destroyed in an instant by the intervention of the gods, either because of its decadence or through purely natural causes, and as the resurrection of an ancient culture. As Charles Dickens described it in Pictures from Italy (1846) looking towards Vesuvius and finding himself in the strange and melancholy sensation of seeing the Destroyed and the Destroyer making this quiet picture in the sun.


[43] A South African Shona / Tsonga Carved Wood Headrest of Architectural Form Smooth dark patina with patches of light brown to the spreading circular feet Old chip to one edge of top bar 19th Century

s i z e   : 13 cm high, 17 cm wide, 7.5 cm deep – 5 ins high, 6¾ ins wide, 3 ins deep p rov e na nc e : Ex Private Suffolk collection Headrests were often taken by newly wed brides to their new homes. They were commissioned by her father from a local craftsman. Several types and styles of headrest could be found in one homestead as they were commissioned by different male members of the extended families from carvers working near the different bride’s localities. This custom of the bride bringing a headrest as a gift from her home symbolised the link she would create between her ancestors and her new husband’s, who would give spiritual protection for the children she would produce for him.


[44] A Fine Chinese Ivory Hu or Court Tablet Smooth honey coloured patina Ming Dynasty / 17th Century

s i z e   : 48 cm long, 7 cm wide (max) – 19ins long – 2¾ ins long (max) s e e : Finch & Co catalogue no. 14 item no. 62 for another example c f : Chinese Ivories From The Shang To The Qing; no’s 158 and 159 Court tablets carved of ivory were carried by officials whilst in the Imperial presence, and held in front of the face as the court official bowed deeply to the Emperor. Their use goes back to the Tang period. During the Ming dynasty they were left undecorated, but were carved with an aesthetically pleasing curve. When not in use they were kept by the court doorkeepers and collected only on entering the Imperial Palace as it was deemed an offence to keep a Hu because it allowed access to restricted areas of the court. By the time of the Qing dynasty they were no longer used at the Imperial Court, but continued to be sought after and regarded as desirable antiquarian curiosities.


[45] An Ancient British Celtic Sandstone Votive Shrine Figure of a Deity with a Hollow Crown for Offerings and Libations 2nd – 1st Century bc

s i z e   : 49 cm high, 24.5 cm wide, 26 cm deep – 19¼ ins high, 9¾ ins wide, 10¼ ins deep 50 cm high – 19¾ ins high (with stand) p rov e na nc e : Found near York in the early 20th Century Ex Private Yorkshire collection c f : A similar sandstone head in the Cartwright Hall Musuem Bradford Yorkshire The symbol of the human head is as representative of the Celtic religion as is the cross in christian contexts. The human head as the centre of spiritual power had overwhelming significance for all the Celtic peoples. It is conspicuous in their rituals, their warfare and their legends, and appears in their art from the earliest known representations in Central Europe to the illuminated manuscripts of the christian Irish. The Celts were head hunters and their use of real trophy or man made sculpted heads reflects their belief in the inherent protective power which was thought to reside in them. These powers kept evil forces from the fortress, home and community whilst ensuring positive good luck and success.


[46] A Western Australian Aboriginal Oval Wood Shield Wunda decorated with incised lines rubbed with white clay and red ochre The reverse also etched with linear designs an old nibbled edge to the bottom 19th Century s i z e   : 81.5 cm long, 13.5 cm wide – 32 ins long, 5¼ ins wide p rov e na nc e : Ex Pullein collection s e e : Finch & Co catalogue no. 11, item no. 73, for another example Australian aboriginal songs and patterns are handed down from generation to generation. Their designs are traditional and the same song is always chanted for each one. Thus there is a strong link between a painted and etched design and the song that was chanted over it whilst it was being made. The design and the chant combined to give strength and power to the object. The art of the Australian Aboriginal is appreciated today with a sophisticated aesthetic interest based on the study of centuries of world art and culture, but to the people of the Western desert this shield is important because it expresses their beliefs, satisfying an artistic impulse for the purposes of ritual and religion.


[47] A Collection of Five Vellum Leather and Paper Bound Volumes of After the Antique Gesso Impressions of famous ancient and renaissance works of art and paintings entitled Liberotti Impronte and stamped Musei No’s 1 – 5 the double ended book boxes containing two sets of numbered casts a handwritten list entitled Opera Seelte afixed to each inside cover detailing each work of art and its location Circa 1780 – 1810

s i z e   : 26.5 cm high, 4.5 cm wide, 16.5 cm deep – 10½ ins high, 1¾ ins wide, 6½ ins deep It became an increasingly popular hobby amongst connoisseurs of antiquities in the 18th century to collect gesso impressions and glass paste replicas of gems. A type of white paste was invented in Dresden and by 1756 a craftsman Philipp Daniel Lippert working there was offering for sale the impressions of 2000 gems. In Rome, Germans on the Grand Tour were given evening classes by one Hofrat Reiffenstein in the making of replicas of variegated cameos, whilst at the same time in London James Tassie, a Scottish wax portraitist, began to make paste impressions. In catalogues published in 1775 and 1791 he lists cameos and intaglios which he cast in coloured pastes, white enamel and sulphur. An English gem engraver Nathaniel Marchant whilst living in Rome specilised in reproducing antique statues on gems for wealthy grand tourists and when he returned home he sold impressions of these intaglios. Whilst in Rome he also exported many plaster casts back to an expanding English market. The sulphur or gesso impressions, were arranged in boxes shaped like books, like these examples and early 19th century travellers to Rome would buy from dealers such as Francesco Carnesecchi in the Via Condotti sets of Impronte showing a selection of the most admired antique statues, the best loved works by Canova and Thorvaldsen and well known Renaissance paintings. Most of the early 19th century grand tourists could not obtain ancient works of art or buy Renaissance bronze statuettes, so these ‘after the antique’ souvenir boxes became extremely popular.


[48] A French Brass Portable Pocket Horizontal Sundial and Compass Signed Butterfield A Paris With original plush lined leather case Circa 1700

s i z e   : 8 cm long, 6.5 cm wide, 1 cm high – 3¼ ins long, 2½ ins wide, ¼ ins high c a s e : 9 cm long, 8 cm wide, 2 cm high – 3½ ins long, 3 ins wide, ¾ high c f : A very similar example in the Musée D’Histoire Des Sciences, Geneva Michael Butterfield (1635–1724) was an English instrument maker who worked in Paris during the late 17th century. With the advent of the Grand Tour portable pocket sundials became a fashionable travellwers accessory. The scientific instrument trade accordingly manufactured and devised many forms of pocket dial. On this example the brass face is engraved with four hour scales for Latitudes 52º 49º 46º and 43º. A collapsible gnomon adjustable from 40º to 60º lays against the pointer of the bird supporter’s beak. The latitude of many towns in France and Europe, including Paris, London, Madrid, Brussels, Hamburg, Copenhagen and Calais are engraved on the back. The hinged gnomon, a triangular flap made to cast a shadow, could be adjusted accordingly to latitude. The gnomon folds flat and the sundial has cut corners to enable it to be enclosed in a case and carried in a pocket. The adjustable gnomon enabled the time to be read accurately in a variety of locations. Even after watches became popular, pocket dials remained in demand as early watches did not remain accurate for long, and travellers could use the dial to regularly reset their watch.


[49] A New Zealand Maori Greywacke Short Hand Club Patu Onewa the blade with a sharp flared rim the butt with three concentric ridges old stone drilled hole Old chips to the distal end of the blade Smooth silky lustrous patina An old paper lot number to the blade Lot 508 18th – Early 19th Century

s i z e   : 33 cm long – 13 ins long p rov e na nc e : Ex Private London collection Dr James Spillius c f : A similar club in British Museum Cook collection NZ80. Kaeppler 1978:191 The Maori were a proud and war-like people, quick to protect their reputation and mana, preferring hand held close combat weapons rather than long distance projectiles. War to the Maori was a form of recreational sport, a contest of skill, carried out under firmly established rules and warriors spent a considerable amount of time grooming for battle. Indeed the preparations for war were ceremonious to the extreme and lasted far longer than the battles themselves. Invocations to the gods, strict observance of all measures needed to propitiate evil influences, the composition of insulting ngeri to be chanted in the face of the enemy, could occupy a whole village for weeks. An extensive range of specific close combat clubs were made to the same pattern throughout the Islands and required a high degree of physical fitness and dexterity to be used effectively. Single handed clubs known as patu were made from a range of materials with those of stone and nephrite preserving the simple spatulate form. They were used with a thrusting and cleaving stroke rather than as a bludgeon.


[50] New Zealand Maori Long Hand Club Taiaha Double Sided Janus Head Carved with the Tongue Thrust out in Defiance of the Enemy The eyes inlaid with Haliotis shell the narrow blade with fine smooth silky patina Early 19th Century s i z e   : 126 cm long – 49½ ins long p rov e na nc e : Ex English Private collection The Maori taiaha is primarily a deadly sword club and not a spear as depicted by many artists. A flat spatulate blade weapon gripped in the middle and used for striking, the pointed tongue is at the lower end and was used as a kind of prodder, but was essentially the ornamental and symbolical part of the taiaha. The blade was used as a club and its effective use depended upon agility rather than strength, and involved long hours of exercise and practice to master the elaborate system of attacks and counter attacks. An old Maori proverb states: He Waewae Taihaha, He Kiri Maku, Heavy feet, wet skin, that is a skin wet with blood.


[51] Finely Carved Ivory Miniature Bust of King George III (1738 –1820) Signed to shoulder I. Kelly the carved stained ivory base with label George III Left to me by W. Tuck 1906 belonged to Queen Victoria Circa 1790 – 1810 s i z e   : 8 cm high – 3 ins high (including original turned ivory socle) From his tutors, particularly the Earl of Bute, George III inherited a great love of learning and a curiosity evidenced most of all in the great library he formed. In 1760, the year of his accession, Horace Walpole wrote, I will tell you something: the King loves medals, and George III pursued a vigorous collecting policy almost from the day of his accession buying outstanding collections of books and also paintings, prints and drawings. When he acquired the collections of Joseph Smith (1674–1770) British consul in Venice, he also acquired significant works of art. In 1823 his son George IV gave the British Museum his father’s superb library together with his collection of coins and medals. The late King’s passion meant that his collection of over 15,000 medals was, and still is, the single largest acquisition of medals made by the British Museum. Carved with the fine detail and intricacy of a medallist, this miniature portrait bust of George III portrays the monarch with all of the concerns of his last years.


[52] A Fine Russian Tula Steel Gold and Silver Mounted Pocket Snuff Box Circa 1800

s i z e   : 1.3 cm high, 6.5 cm wide, 3.5 cm deep – ½ ins high, 2½ ins wide, 1¼ ins deep The Tula arms factory was founded in 1712 as Russia’s protracted war with Sweden caused the transference to Tula of the experienced master craftsmen from the Moscow armoury. The factory continued to fulfil state orders for arms, but gradually they became employed in the manufacture of luxury goods. Catherine the Great frequently gave gifts of Tula work to foreign representatives and diplomats praising the combination of blued steel with gold and gilt metal. As they were mainly intended for the Palaces of European royalty these articles were extraordinarily expensive.


[53] A Melanesian New Caledonian Carved Hardwood Penis War Club Buat The distinctive flange shaped butt with old plaited coir sinnet grip Tattoo markings to the head Natural highly polished smooth silky patina Early 19th Century

s i z e   : 87 cm long – 34¼ ins long s e e : Finch & Co catalogue no. 11, items no. 79, and 80 for other examples Despite the very lethal look of these clubs, Captain Cook on his second Pacific Voyage experienced very little hostility from the indigenous people of New Caledonia. Men brought their weapons to sell and trade for European goods, especially metal axe heads, and Cook spent two weeks on New Caledonia collecting ethnographica. Completely encircled by barrier reefs, New Caledonia is mountainous with peaks rising to 5000 feet. The natural flora is outstandingly rich in unique species indicating a prolonged period of isolation since remote geological time. The fruit bat or flying fox was the sole resident mammal before the arrival of man. Unlike other areas of Melanesia, a system of hereditary chieftainship operated and although many diverse dialects were spoken there was a general cultural homogeneity throughout the area.


[54] An Octagonal Tibetan Buddhist Votive Wafer Mould each side finely carved with images of deities, demons, auspicious emblems and animals Gyelpo Karpo Drug Dö Late 18th – Early 19th Century

s i z e   : 38.5 cm long, 4.5 cm dia. (max) 15¼ ins long, 1¾ ins dia. (max) p rov e na nc e : Ex Private Southern French collection The spirits Gyelpo are divinities responsible for illness, they represent maleficent spirits who are ritually sacrificed in the form of wafers upon the altar in order to subjugate their evil forces. The moulds are used to produce the ritual wafers made of barley flour dough. The shaped dough is given as a votive offering during ceremonies performed by


the Buddhist monks before an altar set with an arrangement of offering vessels, small images and the sacrificial wafers. Musical instruments would be laid out ready to be used at appropriate points in the ritual. Some of the most famous public ritual performances of old Tibet follow the basic altar layout, with an icon set above as a dwelling place for spiritual presences, images and offerings on the altar that are all invoked by mantra’s to acknowledge and receive offerings and participate in the ritual, so creating a kind of theatre of spiritual principles on the altar table. The seasonal expulsion of demons dance mirrors this at which masked monks perform in a public courtyard before a huge and complex painted icon unrolled and hung several storeys high for the occasion. The dancers in the courtyard are thought to correspond with the small sculptures in wafer-form on the altar.


[55] An Extraordinary Cased Collection of Forty Eight Exotic Victorian Taxidermy Birds mostly of the Parrot Family including: Bourkes Parrot, Crimson Rosella, Rainbow Lory, Australian King Parrot, Red Headed Finch, Golden Mantled Rosella, Red Cheeked Parrot, Red Crested Cardinal and Little Lorikeet A full list with a key of the birds available 19th Century

s i z e   : 94 cm high, 97.5 cm wide, 41 cm deep – 37 ins high, 38½ ins wide, 16¼ ins deep p rov e na nc e : Purchased 1960 from the Cape Town Museum by Mr Desmond Thence By Descent Ex Private South African collection Ex Private London collection Cites Document Available s e e : Finch & Co catalogue no. 23, item no. 1, for a Victorian case of Australian Parrots Parrots occur on all lands in the Southern Hemisphere except the Southern tip of Africa and the more remote Pacific Islands. Whilst they have never been domesticated in the sense that chickens ducks and pigeons have, more species of parrots have been tamed and raised in captivity than any other group of birds. Primitive tribes have kept them as pets since time immemorial. The talking ability of the African Grey is mentioned in ancient Greek and Roman writings. The parrots appeal is partly aesthetic, partly anthropomorphic. Coupled with their attractive colouring and the ease with which they are tamed and kept in captivity are their intensely human traits of imitating the human voice, of showing affection to each other, of reacting to flattery and of using their feet almost as hands. No other bird holds food in one foot and bites pieces off, much as we eat a sandwich. Parrots develop their ability as mimics only in captivity. In the wild they are raucousvoiced birds that shriek or squawk and generally have a poor range of vocal expression. Though lovers of parrots will cite examples to prove the contrary, talking pet parrots haven’t the slightest idea of what they are saying. Parrots learn best when young and repeat the simpler sounds they hear most often, without choice or selectivity. They are extremely long lived. How long they live in the wild where natural enemies take their toll is unknown, but individuals have lived upwards of 50 years in captivity, and one is recorded to have reached 80.


[56] An Eastern Polynesian Marquesas Islands Carved Wood Fan Handle Composed of Two Tiki Figures Tahi’i standing back to back Mounted on a stand with the impressed seal mark of Kichizo Inagaki 19th Century

s i z e   : 8.5 cm high – 3¼ ins high / 11 cm high – 4¼ in high (with stand) p rov e na nc e : Ex collection Josef Mueller sold Christies March 1979 Lot 219 Ex London collection of Anthropologist Dr James Spillius Marquesan tiki figures with their enlarged heads, bent knees and extended arms and hands resting on their stomachs have a common artistic ancestry with other Eastern Polynesian sculptural traditions such as those of Tahiti and Easter Island Rapa Nui. Marquesan fan handles of the 19th century were always adorned with tiki’s. Carried by warriors toa, by ritual Shamanic specialists tau’a and by individuals of high birth and status, they functioned as symbols of rank. They were artfully displayed by both Marquesan men and women on important ceremonial occasions.


[57] A Rare Early Christian Carolingian Frankish Fragment of a Dedicatory Limestone Relief Plaque a Latin inscription to the edge reading: …Cavit Fieri Ista Opera Indignos Peccat (Or)… This Unworthy Sinner (Has Made Sure) That This Work Has Been Done 8th – 9th Century ad s i z e   : 41.5 cm high, 98 cm wide, 11 cm deep – 16¼ ins high, 38½ ins wide, 4¼ ins deep / 47 cm high – 18½ ins high (with base) p rov e na nc e : Ex Private French collection Marquis François de Ripert-Monclar (1844–1921) Allemagne-en-Provence. Acquired from an Antiquarian who found the Relief being used in a stairway of the old St-Pierre Hospital in Carpentras. The Marquis de Ripert-Monclar was a well travelled diplomat and passionate collector of antiquities and ethnography. He was a pioneer of amateur photography in the 19th century and an archive of his work is in the collection of the Musée de Salagon, Provence, which includes a photograph of this relief. The estate was dispersed 1936–1940 after the death of his widow. Ex American Private collection, Texas, acquired in France Ex Irish Private collection


p u b l i s h e d  : M.Buis Note Sur Une Dalle Carolingienne De Carpentras in Archeologie Du Midi Medieval Vol 13, 1995 pg. 239–242 L.H.Labande Inscription Gravée Autour D’Une Pierre A Entrelacs Provenant De Carpentras In Comptes Rendus Des Séances De L’Academie Des Inscriptions Et Belles-Lettres Volume 55,1911 pg. 588–595 See: Finch & Co catalogue no. 22, item no. 28, for another Carolingian Relief fragment c f : M.Buis La Sculpture A Entrelacs Carolingienne Dans La Sud-Est De La France AixEn-Provence 1975 Vol I, pg. 226–232 This type of interwoven decoration is a recurring motif in Carolingian art found in South East France which was part of the empire created by the great Charlemagne, King of the Franks (768–814), who in alliance with the Pope extended his dominion over Germany and Italy. He created an empire by conquering and Christianising the Saxon, Lombards and Avars, and by restoring areas of Italy to the Pope. His coronation by Pope Leo III in Rome on Christmas Day 800 ad is taken as having inaugurated the Holy Roman Empire (800–814). He gave government a new moral drive and religious responsibility, and encouraged commerce and agriculture. A well-educated man he promoted the arts and education and under Alcuin his principal court at Aachen became a major centre of learning. The political cohesion of his empire did not last, but the influence of his scholars persisted in the Carolingian Renaissance.


[58] Native American Plains Dakota Sioux Pipe Tomahawk Patinated Smooth Hickory Wood Shaft Wrapped in Buckskin Studded with Brass Tacks with a Solid Brass Hatchet Blade and Vase Shaped Pipe Bowl Circa 1850 – 70

s i z e   : 50 cm long, 21.5 cm high (blade) – 19¾ ins long, 8½ ins high (blade) s e e : Finch & Co catalogue no. 24, item no. 59 The metal pipe tomahawk was a ceremonial weapon that became a prestigious symbol of the Native American warrior chief. In the mid 19th century the gun began to replace its importance as a weapon and it became more ceremonial than practical with all brass heads replacing those of iron and steel. Its popularity lay in the relationship perceived by the Native American between a warrior’s prowess and the spiritual power received through smoking. The brass headed pipe tomahawk was often given as a presentation gift to chiefs. They were bestowed to solemnise treaties and to ensure friendship. The pipe tomahawk’s symbolic and ceremonial function eventually became paramount and this allowed it to survive long after it had outlived its utilitarian purposes.


[59]A Fine South German Carved Wood Panel Depicting the Image of the Crucified Christ upon a Shroud Traces of original polychrome Mid 17th Century

s i z e   : 31 cm high, 26 cm wide – 12¼ ins high, 10¼ ins wide 37 cm high – 14½ ins high (with stand) p rov e na nc e : Ex Private Southern French collection The Veil of Veronica was the most famous relic in Rome preserved in St Peter’s in the Vatican since the 8th century. Writing in the late 16th century the French man of letters, Michel de Montaigne claimed that No other relic has such veneration paid to it. The people throw themselves down before it upon their faces, most of them with tears in their eyes and with lamentations and tears of compassion. Christians in medieval Europe would have been confident that they knew what Christ looked like as the image of his face was miraculously imprinted on the vernicle or sudarium, the linen cloth used by Saint Veronica to wipe the Saviour’s face. Gerard of Wales and others held that her name really means vera icon, true image, and it seems likely that the legend of Saint Veronica was embellished to explain the relic which had become a focus in the late Middle Ages of increased concern with the humanity of Christ, especially the Holy Face and the physical elements of his Passion.


[60] Australian Aboriginal Central Desert Bullroarer Incised with Geometric Designs and Painted with Red Ochre 19th Century

s i z e   : 87 cm long, 10.5 cm wide – 34¼ ins long, 4 ins wide p rov e na nc e : Ex Michael Hamson, USA Ex Private Belgian collection Bullroarers are very similar to sacred churinga boards, but have a small hole drilled through one end which enables it to be whirled around by means of a string tied through it. This produces a loud humming sound which by aboriginal women is believed to be the voice of a dangerous spirit. The Australian aborigines attribute magical powers to their sacred objects and the emotional impact of this is very strong, particularly on young men passing through initiation ceremonies. When a youth leaves boyhood behind and becomes a man he must undergo, according to the locality in which he lives, sacred ordeals such as circumcision, subincision or the knocking out of some of his teeth. It is then the elders of the tribe whirl the bullroarers. The loud moaning and humming noise they make represents the voice of a spirit and is a warning to women and uninitiated youths that a sacred ceremony is taking place and that they must keep away.


[61] A Japanese Naturalistically Carved Ivory Okimono of a Human Skull entwined by a snake a toad in its jaws another toad to the reverse Memento Mori Meiji period / 1868 – 1912

s i z e   : 5.5 cm high, 4 cm wide, 5 cm deep – 2¼ ins high, 1½ ins wide, 2 ins deep The Buddhist philosophy of the impermanence of life and the non-existence of self were important influences on the development of the Japanese Samurai traditions of self-sacrifice and the ethicality of suicide. The iconic symbol of the human skull as a memento mori was to the Japanese an allegory for the vanity of life.


[62] A Japanese Boxwood Netsuke Depicting Saigyō Hōshi Sitting Contemplating the Slopes of Mount Fuji Unsigned 18th Century

s i z e   : 3 cm high, 6.5 cm wide, 4 cm deep – 1¼ ins high, 2½ ins wide, 1½ ins deep Saigyō Hōshi (1118–1190) was a famous Japanese poet of the late Heian and early Kamakura period. He is known for his sombre and melancholic poetry. He became a Buddhist monk, but remained very attached to the beauty of nature, and his poetry expresses the tension he felt between the Buddhist renunciatory ideal and his love of the natural world. Mount Fuji, from time immemorial, has been the sacred mountain of Japan, the goal of pilgrims and the centre of several legends. Formed during a great earthquake in 286 bc, Fuji is believed to be a female. She is the highest mountain in Japan. It is said that at one time Mt Haku, a male, towered above her. The Buddhist Amida was asked to decide which peak was the highest. He ran a pipe from the top of Haku to the top of Fuji and poured water into it. The water flowed down Fuji’s peak and she, in her rage at the proven result of the contest, beat Haku about the head. By cracking his skull into eight parts she reduced his height and caused Mt Haku’s eight peaks. Fuji’s last major eruption was in 1707.


[63] West African Ivory Coast Baule Male Figure Asie Usu standing with arms in relief a finely incised elaborate coiffure and plaited beard Scarification to abdomen glass beads and brass ornaments around the ankles Dark encrusted patina with patches of smooth silky brown patination from handling 19th – Early 20th Century

s i z e   : 38 cm high – 15 ins high / 41 cm high – 16¼ ins high (with base) p rov e na nc e : Ex Ludwig Bretschneider, Munich Ex collection Dr Otto Jordan, (1899–1988) Munich Industrialist Dr Otto Jordan was one of the great collectors in post-war Munich. As well as Modern Art he collected works from Africa, the Pacific and Far East, the majority of which he acquired from the important German dealer in Munich, Ludwig Bretschneider between 1953 and 1978 s e e : Finch & Co catalogue no. 20, item no. 67, for a fine Baule / Yaure mask The Baule people call their standing figures Waka Sran (Vogel 1997:295) meaning people in wood. They are divided by them into two categories; the Asie Usu who are nature spirits living in the bush who, if not placated with rituals and votive offerings, became dangerous and the Blolo Bia, Blolo Bia Fem, the other world man and woman who are the spirits of the spouses each person has in the other world and who can become extremely jealous if ignored. This figure was carved on instructions from a diviner to function as an interlocutor for an unseen bush spirit and sculpted to conform to Baule notions of beauty and attractiveness. The downward serene gaze, the long elegant neck, the symmetry of the facial features and the depiction of scarification are all regarded by the Baule as points of beauty. The carvings are treated differently according to their use, the Asie Usu are covered in an crusty patina, whilst the Blolo Bia acquire a smooth polished surface from being handled frequently and fed with oils. This figure is rare in retaining its crusty surface as when acquired by dealers in the West the Asie Usu would often be cleaned and polished as a smooth shiny patina was preferred.


[64] An Early Anglo-Norman Octagonal Limestone Baptismal Font With old drilled drainage hole from use as a garden planter Stone plinth a 19th century addition 11th – 12th Century

s i z e   : 94 cm high, 74 cm wide, 74 cm deep – 37 ins high, 29¼ ins wide, 29¼ ins deep p rov e na nc e : From the garden of a Herefordshire Vicarage the house acquired by the owners family in the 19th century Thence by descent s e e : Finch and Co catalogue no. 18, item no. 59, for an Anglo Saxon font Before the reign of Constantine (306 – 337 ad) the sacrament of baptism, originally performed in flowing water, came to be administered in standing water in the domestic settings of a courtyard or privately owned bath. Subsequently with the development of Christian ecclesiastical houses, baptism was cloaked in an elaborate liturgy that required a separate room, the forerunner of the great Romanesque and Gothic baptisteries. Early Christian fonts assumed a centralised plan of round, octagonal, hexagonal or cruciform shape. At first baptism generally meant adult immersion and as this waned infusion, the pouring or sprinkling of water, gained favour. With this changing custom and with the increasing prevalence of infant baptism, the size and form of the baptismal fonts also changed, with the medieval period witnessing a variety of forms and materials according to region and date. The origin of stationary fonts for holy water is unclear, but it is thought that they were placed at the rear of the church near the entrance to allow those who entered to be purified by blessing themselves with the water. By the ninth century holy water was blessed as a part of the liturgy preceding Sunday Mass. This water was drawn from a stitula or bucket and sprinkled over the altar, throughout the church and upon the congregation. The remaining water was poured into the font.


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