A Hellenistic pale green glass skyphos

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Lot 9*
A Hellenistic pale olive-green footed glass cup or skyphos

Sold for £ 182,650 (US$ 254,782) inc. premium

Antiquities

14 Jul 2004, 18:00 BST

London, New Bond Street

A Hellenistic pale olive-green footed glass cup or skyphos
late 3rd-2nd Century B.C.
Cast in a multi-part mould, lathe-cut and polished, with a deep hemispherical body, two wing handles rectangular in cross-section with projecting horizontal finger rests, on a short solid stem and bell-shaped foot, decorated on the interior below the rim with two horizontal cut grooves and on the exterior with four stepped grooves at the base of the bowl above the junction with the foot which has a cut groove at the top and to the side of the foot edge, 51/8in. (13.2cm.) high, 47/8in. (12.5cm.) rim diam., 8½in. (21.5cm.) width across handles, a lightly pitted surface with iridescence, two star-cracks in the body, one longer strain crack running down from the rim and several smaller ones in the rim, chip to inner rim behind a handle

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Ex British Rail Pension Fund Collection, London

    On Loan:
    The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York, 1985-1995

    Published:
    Grose 1989, p.187, fig.94
    Stern and Schlick-Nolte 1994, p.97, fig.176
    Sotheby’s 1997, pp.40-41, lot 14

    Literature:
    This fine two-handled footed cup or skyphos belongs to the earliest documented class of Hellenistic cast glass tablewares dating from the late 3rd to 2nd Century B.C., examples of which have been found in Greece and Magna Graecia (cf. Grose 1989, pp.185-90). Heavily influenced by contemporary ceramics and silver forms, these luxury glasses were often also decorated with lathe-cut bands of grooves and, as on this example, with cut basal mouldings, which mirror those found on silver pieces.

    Hellenistic glass of this period is best known from several large tomb groups from Canosa (ancient Canusium) near the Adriatic coast of southern Italy, the most famous of which are preserved in the British Museum (cf. Harden 1968 and Tatton-Brown 2002). Among these finds, which are believed to have come from a single tomb, is a winged handled skyphos very similar to this example (ibid. p.92, fig.4 on p.93). Another similar piece, now in the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg; was found in 1900 at Akhtanizovskaya, Krasnodat region (Kunina 1997, p.259, no.59). The distinctive bell-shaped foot may also be found on an extraordinary lidded amphora with gilded copper ornaments reputedly found at Olbia on the Black Sea and now in Antikenmuseum, Berlin (Platz-Horster 1976, pp.16-20). It also occurs on handless bowls or kraters with outsplayed rims, cf. Grose 1989, p.198, no.183 for an example in the Toledo Museum of Art allegedly found in Italy and dated to the mid - to late 3rd Century B.C., while Marianne Stern believes that another example without provenance, formerly in the Ernesto Wolf Collection, was not made before 150 B.C. (Stern and Schlick-Nolte 1994, pp.103-4, pp.258-61, no.68).
A Hellenistic pale green glass skyphos
A Hellenistic pale green glass skyphos
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