Cypriot Polished red-ware Female Plank Figure
Early Bronze Age, 2000-1900 BC
Height: 18.8 cm
Provenance: Lawrence-Cesnola Collection, London, acquired prior 1879
Sold Sotheby's, London, 27 April 1892, lot 525; Private collection of General Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers (1827-1900), Farnham Museum, Dorset; Desmond Morris Collection, Oxford, UK; Sold Christie's, London, 6 November 2001, lot 172; David Davenport Collection; Private Collection, UK
Of all the small wonders, this plank idol perhaps has the most impressive and varied provenance. She began her journey as part of the famed Lawrence Cesnola collection, comprising Cypriot antiquities excavated between 1866-1876. Sold at Sotheby’s in 1892, she found her way to the private collection of General Augustus Pitt-Rivers, founder of the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, where she was recorded in a hand-drawn register.
In the 1960’s, this plank idol came under the ownership of Desmond Morris, noted zoologist, ethologist, and author of the seminal work, The Naked Ape. A major collector of Cypriot artefacts, he was drawn to the vivacity, humour and originality of expression of ancient Cypriot art; all qualities embodied by this charming variation on the Cypriot plank idol.