A Hellenistic opaque dark red glass bottle

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Lot 10*
A Late Hellenistic - Early Roman opaque red glass bottle

Sold for £ 116,650 (US$ 162,754) inc. premium

Antiquities

14 Jul 2004, 18:00 BST

London, New Bond Street

A Late Hellenistic - Early Roman opaque red glass bottle
1st Century B.C. - first half 1st Century A.D.
Cast, lathe-cut and polished, with a flaring mouth, the rim slanting inwards and cut with two horizontal ribs in low relief on the interior, cylindrical neck, and pear-shaped body with a band of two cut ribs on the shoulder and a further band above the flat bottom, 6½in. (16.5cm.) high, 15/8in. (4.2cm.) rim diam., 3¼in. (8.3cm.) maximum diam., the colour mostly obscured by green patination

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Ex Constable-Maxwell Collection, London
    Ex British Rail Pension Fund Collection, London

    On Loan:
    The Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery, Austin, Texas, 1981-1988
    The San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, Texas, 1988-1990

    Published:
    Sotheby Parke Bernet 1979, p.28, lot 22
    Sotheby’s 1997, pp.22-3, lot 8

    Literature:
    The opaque red colour of this piece was achieved through the addition of a copper oxide to the glass batch, which was then heated in a furnace with a reducing atmosphere, i.e. one in which the furnace is kept starved of oxygen. In an oxidized atmosphere, however, the presence of the copper would have created a blue coloured glass. For a more detailed discussion on the production of coloured glass in antiquity, including the influence of the furnace conditions, cf. Fleming 1999, pp.143-4. The green patination on the surface of this piece is a weathering product of copper leached out from within the glass while buried in the ground, which, when removed, reveals the original blood red colour of the glass.

    For two more curved examples also made in opaque red glass retaining varying degrees of green patination formerly in the Constable-Maxwell and Benzian Collections cf. Sotheby Parke Bernet 1979, 29, lot 23 and Sotheby’s 1994, 36, lot 50 respectively. The closest parallel in form and decoration to this bottle, however, is an elegant opaque white bottle from the Benzian Collection (ibid. pp.34-5, lot 49).




A Hellenistic opaque dark red glass bottle
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