Hounds Scent Glory
Roman Marble Hounds Smash Estimate at Bonhams Antiquities Sale

Two Roman marble figures of Celtic hounds found in the ruins of the villa of Emperor Antoninus Pius (ruled AD 138-161), which later formed part of the outstanding collection of the renowned and influential English aesthete Thomas Hope, sold for an impressive £807,063 at Bonhams Antiquities sale in London today (Wednesday 3 July). Offered at auction for the first time since 1911, they had an estimate of £200,000-300,000. The sale made a total of £1,865,531.

Thomas Hope (1769-1831), artist, novelist, and historian was one of the most renowned art collectors of his day. The Celtic hounds would have been one of Hope's earliest purchases, and had pride of his place in the Statue Gallery in his London town-house in Duchess Street Marylebone from 1804-1849.

Bonhams head of Antiquities, Francesca Hickin said, "We are delighted with the outcome of today's sale. The hounds are remarkably rare, have impeccable provenance and are survivors from the 2nd century AD, so it is no surprise that they achieved such a high price at auction today."

Other lots that exceeded their estimate included; An Egyptian limestone round-topped stele for Padi-Bast. Akhmim, circa 4th Century B.C. Sold for £75,063 (estimate £15,000-20,000) and An Egyptian bronze and gold Oxyrhynchus fish, circa 1550-735 B.C that sold for £68,813. (Estimate £20,000-30,000).

Other highlight in the sale included:

- A Roman marble head of Minerva, circa 2nd Century A.D. Sold for £65,063

- A Roman marble male torso, circa 1st Century A.D. Sold for £62,563

- A Roman marble satyr, circa 1st Century A.D. Sold for £62,563

- A large Persian pottery bowl, circa late 3rd-late 2nd Millennium B.C, from the collection of Dr. Desmond Morris. Sold for £50,063.


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