Rupert Wace Ancient Art



  - Late Roman clear glass cup

Late Roman clear glass cup

c. 4th - 5th century AD

Niemeijer-Huysse Collection, Netherlands, purchased from Schulman, Amsterdam, in 1977


Formed of fine pale green transparent glass, the globular body decorated with a single line of trailing below a flaring rim. Set on a short flaring foot.

Height: 8.3 cm

  - Hellenistic bronze stool

Hellenistic bronze stool

c. 4th-3rd century BC

UK collection acquired 1970s to 1990s; Property of a Private Foundation, acquired from the above 2003

A silver diphros of very similar design was found inside the 4th-century BC Macedonian tomb Agios Athanasios I at Stavroupolis, Thessaloniki (Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, inv. no. ΜΘ 7440); see D. Andrianou, 'The Furniture and Furnishings of Ancient Greek Houses and Tombs', Cambridge, 2009, pp. 28-29, no. 6 and p. 158, n. 20 for further discussion and parallels. We can also compare the stool shown on the 4th century BC stele of Polyxena in Athens (National Museum, inv. no. 723) where the tops of the turned legs clearly protrude above the seat, a feature seemingly intended to keep the cushion in place; see G. M. A. Richter, 'The Furniture of the Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans', London, 1966, pp. 40-41.
For evidence of possible Near Eastern influence see H. Kyrieleis, 'Throne und Klinen: Studien zur Formgeschichte altorientalischer und griechischer Sitz- und Liegemobel vorhellenistischer Zeit' (Berlin, 1969), 40-41

Of rectangular form, with four cylindrical legs tapering to a circular profiled foot, each decorated with three turned bands, the tops of the legs protruding above the seat frame to form four circular bosses, a horizontal stretcher across the two short sides, also with a central turned band, each terminating at the leg in two curved attachment plates with chequered border, a rectangular space for the insertion of a woven seat.

Four-legged stools - or diphroi - of this type are known from numerous representations on Greek vases and reliefs and are also well-described in the ancient literature. A number of metal examples in silver and iron have been excavated from Hellenistic and Roman period tombs in Macedonia and Thrace, where they formed part of the funerary furniture buried with the dead; these diphroi were often used to support a vessel containing the ashes of the deceased or else for the placement of smaller offerings within the tomb.

The size of this example suggests it may have been used as a foot-stool, perhaps specifically for mounting and dismounting a horse. Domestic Greek stools were typically made of wood, sometimes with solid metal feet. Solid metal stools are unusual, suggesting ceremonial or perhaps royal use. It also points to Near Eastern influence.

Height: 35.9 cm Width: 29.5 cm Depth: 20.5 cm

  - Hellenistic terracotta head of a female

Hellenistic terracotta head of a female

c. 3rd-2nd century BC

Private collection France


Mould-made from a red-brown terracotta, the head with a tang for fitting into the body. The tang follows the line of the long neck and suggests a slightly static pose to the figure with the head facing the viewer. She wears a kerchief wrapped around her head with eye-slits in case the wearer wishes to draw it over her face. The face is fully revealed but the potential to modestly veil oneself is implied. An old collector's number is inscribed in black ink on the neck - '2376'.

The style and material suggest that this head comes from North-west Asia Minor, possibly Smyrna on the Aegean coast of Anatolia.

Height: 6.2 cm

  - Roman gold ring with gryllus head of Silenus

Roman gold ring with gryllus head of Silenus

c. 2nd century AD

Private collection France, acquired in the 1960s; Sold Christie's, New York, Ancient Jewelery, 9 December 2010, lot 384

A similar intaglio in green jasper can be seen in M. Maaskant-Kleibrink, 'Catalogue of the Engraved Gems in the Royal Coin Cabinet', The Hague, 1978, no. 1094.

Ring size: D. Intaglio measures 12 mm x 9 mm

The hollow gold ring, with plain elliptical hoop expanding at the shoulders. The flat bezel set with a red jasper intaglio of a gryllus of a Silenus head in profile. The head is formed of an eagle for his hair, his beard a cockerel, and a ram's head for an ear.

  - Roman bronze steelyard weight of a young man

Roman bronze steelyard weight of a young man

Mid 1st century AD

Collection of Marcel Dumoulin, Belgium acquired in the 1960s - 1970s


Height: 8.2 cm

Finely cast in the form of a draped and laureate male bust wearing a wreath of ivy leaves in his wavy hair, which is Polykleitan in style, falling into a distinctively parted fringe at the centre of the forehead, the ribbons of the wreath trailing across his shoulders, the eyes and brows articulated, the lips slightly parted, with an integral suspension loop at the crown of his head.

Bronze weights such as this were used as counterbalances on sets of steelyard scales, and were often cast in the form of male and female busts. These frequently depict either deities or emperors as a way of imparting authority to the weight; the ivy wreath here suggests this youth may have been a follower of Dionysus.

Green-brown patina over all. Tip of nose worn, section of right ribbon missing, section of curls at back of head lost. Mounted.

  - Roman bronze figure of Aphrodite

Roman bronze figure of Aphrodite

c. 2nd century AD

Collection of Louis de Clercq (1836-1901) Oignies, France; Private collection Switzerland, acquired 1960s and thence by descent

Published: A de Ridder, 'Collection de Clercq, Les Bronzes, Tome III' (Paris, 1905), no. 135.

Height: 31 cm

The goddess stands with her weight on her right leg, her open hands held out before her. She wears a pair of armlets; a twisted necklace with evenly spaced pendants hanging from it and a central counterweight at the back; large, circular earrings and a high crescentic diadem. Her wavy hair, parted in the centre, two short tresses hanging down her neck and a small bun at the back of her head. Original inlay survives to the eyes.

This type of Aphrodite figure reveals the influence of the Eastern mystery religions on Greek and Roman beliefs and practice, in this case the Cult of Isis. It is a particularly strong image of the goddess with emphasis on her maternal characteristics, a form which was particularly popular in Egypt and Syria.

Some damage to the tips of the fingers of the left hand and right index finger.

  - Apulian terracotta fish plate

Apulian terracotta fish plate

Magna-Graecia. c. 4th century BC

Private collection USA, acquired 1980s and thence by descent


Diameter: 26.5 cm
Height: 6.5 cm

Decorated with three fish, two striped bream and a torpedo ray, moving from right to left, and with a reserved circle. The scene framed by a circle of dots around the edge. Standing on a separately made low foot, the deep, downturned rim decorated with a repeating wave pattern. The floor sloping gently to a central depression surrounded by a circle of waves.

This piece comes with a thermoluminescence test report from Oxford Authentication confirming its antiquity.

  - Roman Glass Flask

Roman Glass Flask

Eastern Mediterranean. c.3rd-4th century AD

Private collection France, acquired c. 1990


The lenticular body of translucent pale green glass with a cylindrical neck, a pronounce depression at the join, and thick flared rim. Two turquoise ribbon-like trails applied to the sides and continuing up to form handles of circular cross section attached at the middle of the neck. A small flat base with pontil mark.

Height: 14.8 cm

  - Roman bronze balsamarium with dolphins

Roman bronze balsamarium with dolphins

1st century AD

Private collection Switzerland, acquired in the 1960s, and thence by descent


Bronze balsamarium in the form of an urn. On a small foot base, the body tapering out to the sharp edge of the horizontal flat shoulders. Two handles in the form of dolphins rise from the shoulders to a circular ridge half way up the neck of the vessel, a looped chain attached to each one, a further chain attached to the stopper lid for suspension.

Height: 14 cm

  - Corinthian marble capital

Corinthian marble capital

Byzantine. 5th-6th AD

American collection


The concave sides of the abacus (the flat top to the capital which would support the architrave) carved with laurel leaf border, each side with a central rosette of acanthus-like leaves. Double volutes at each corner, an acanthus leaf curling out at the centre of each side, others following the curve of the block below each pair of volutes. A border of repeating acanthus leaves round the base.

The last of the three principal classical orders of architecture, Corinthian is characterised by the elaborate capitals decorated with acanthus leaves and scrolls.

Length: 45.7 cm, Width: 45.7 cm, Height: 27.9 cm

  - Small Greek black glazed olpe

Small Greek black glazed olpe

Attic. 400-350 BC

Private collection UK, acquired prior to 1970


Of simple form, the body and neck formed by a continuous curve from small ring base to out-turned rim. The round mouthed jug with single thick strap handle. A Greek inscription on the unglazed base identifies the owner as Kallias, son of Douros (Doron?).

Height: 11.8 cm