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Marvels, Miracles & Monsters Where there is great art there are always miracles Willa Cather (1873 – 1947) American Novelist

Suite 744, 2 Old Brompton Road, London sw7 3dq, uk Tel: 020 7413 9937, Fax: 020 7581 4445 Mobile: 07836684133 / 07768236921 Email: enquiries@finch-and-co.co.uk Website: www.finch-and-co.co.uk


[1] A Rare Anglo-Saxon / Celtic Early Christian Cross Marked Stone Slab

Incised with an equal armed cross superimposed on a broad ring The recess at the centre probably contained glass or crystal fragments 7th – 8th Century ad

s i z e: 81 cm high, 32 cm wide, 14 cm deep – 32 ins high, 12½ ins wide, 5½ ins deep p rov e na nc e: Ex Private collection Found at Little Eaton in Derbyshire during the construction of a road in the early 20th century. Probably used as building stone or rubble in the 19th century s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 3, item no. 24, for a 10th – 11th century Anglo-Danish sandstone pillar slab from Derbyshire decorated with a Saint c f: C. Thomas; The Early Christian Archaeology of North Britain Oxford 1971, pg. 124 – 5, for a range of cross slab types Similar examples exist at several sites across Britain and Scotland. A Pictish cross slab of very similar form is preserved at Banchory Ternan, Aberdeenshire The simplest form of early Anglo-Saxon, Celtic and Pictish Christian monument is the cross marked stone and it is said to have originated in British and Irish missionary work amongst the Northern British in the 6th and 7th centuries. In the Life of St Columba by Adomnán there is a story of how one of the earliest of these crosses was made by the saint himself when he marked the gates of the hilltop fortress near Loch Ness, the northern base of the powerful pagan Pictish King Bridei with the sign of the Lord’s cross in order to gain entry and secure his co-operation in allowing a start to be made in the conversion of his people. Sometimes referred to as a prayer-cross these symbol incised stone slabs were a basic aid for instruction and devotion. They could also afford protection at the entrance of a building and when stood erect the stone slab marked the ground upon which it stood as sacred, whether on a grave or communal funerary ground or in an enclosed devotional space. The art of the cross marked stone slab in Britain is part of a common cultural package brought by Christianity to these shores and the displaying of these early symbolic stones was a token of the acceptance by the Anglo-Saxons, Celts and Picts of the Christian faith.


[2] A Fine Ottoman Turkish Sherbet Spoon with a Tortoiseshell Bowl and a Carved Coral Stem Surmounted with a Large Branched Red Coral Finial Late 18th Century

s i z e: 26.5 cm long, 12 cm wide – 10½ ins long, 4¾ ins wide p rov e na nc e: From the Collection of Field Marshall Horatio Kitchener of Khartoum 1st Earl Kitchener 1850 – 1916 Thence by descent The majority of the Lord Kitchener of Khartoum collection was auctioned in 1938. However, some 70 years later the family found several items laying forgotten in a cellar. s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 13, item no. 34, for a collection of sixteen, and catalogue no. 15, item no. 34, for three other examples c f: Topkapi the Treasury, 1987, J M Rogers, 114b for three very similar examples Exotic and beautiful materials were sourced to make these spoons that the ladies of the harem at Topkapi Palace in Istanbul used when sharing their communal compotes of soaked dried fruit known as Hosaf. Sweet treats such as this cold fruit sherbet were part of daily life at the court of the Ottomans.


[3] A Melanesian Skull from New Britain Presented to Captain John Henry Crane by King Tomiliti Circa 1890 Reputed to be The Skull of a Cannibal 19th Century

s i z e: 15 cm high, 19 cm deep, 12.5 cm wide – 6 ins high, 7½ ins deep, 5 ins wide p rov e na nc e: Presented to Captain John Henry Crane by King Tomiliti Circa 1890 in New Britain Thence by descent s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 9, item no. 14, for the Skull of a Pygmy Andamanese Islander New Britain is an island off East Papua New Guinea, and was part of the Bismarck Archipelago comprising New Ireland, New Hanover and the Admiralty Islands, as well as New Britain. Although parts of these islands were sighted by Schouten and Lemaire in 1606, little interior exploration was conducted until the early 20th century. The English names of the islands were given by Carteret in 1767, but were changed in the 1900’s during the years of German administration when New Britain became Neu Pommern. Human skulls were hung in rows, sometimes together with pig’s skulls, in the men’s houses on New Britain. They were tamburan or taboo and so could only be handled by a chief or men of rank. A men’s house on the Island was described by A.B. Lewis in his Field Diaries (pg 172) as being about 12 x 20 feet with a passageway down the middle, and a row of cots, made of sticks, either supported on a short leg or on forked sticks driven in the ground.


[4] Rare New Zealand Maori Godstick Tiki-Wananga Carved with an Image of the Deity Maru God of War Rich smooth silky dark brown patina One eye with remains of shell inlay traces of red ochre the shaft probably once longer 18th Century

s i z e: 14 cm long, 3 cm wide, 2.5 cm deep – 5½ ins long, 1¼ ins wide, 1 ins deep c f: Edge Partington, Album 3, pl 158 no. 3, pl 389, no. 9 and 10 for similar examples Formed as a carved mask head on a shaft, Maori godsticks were used by priests who either thrust them into the ground or held them in the hand calling on the god to inhabit them. When stuck into the ground at the tu-ahu or sacred place near each village the priests would then recite incantations to induce the god to take up residence within the figure. During these proceedings the priest became animated, rolling his eyes, his body convulsed and speaking in a language unknown to his audience. The god would then make his presence known by various signs, one of which was whistling. Godsticks were not worshipped as idols. They served as material vehicles for the spirits they represented, their identity designated by the priest who used the image. It is thought that their identification to individual gods, by way of particular features of the carving, was begun by the Maoris for the interest of missionary collectors. With the wide acceptance of Christianity before the middle of the 19th century many of the godsticks were destroyed or abandoned. Fortunately at that time the Reverend Richard Taylor had a great interest in Maori customs and culture. Some of the godsticks he collected are now in Cambridge University Museum of Ethnology and on each one he conveniently pencilled in the name of the deity it supposedly represented. He would prevail on his converts to bring out their senseless idols which he said they literally cast away…. to the bats and moles…. concealing them in clefts and hollow trees.

[5] A New Zealand Maori Greenstone Chisel Blade Whao 19th Century

s i z e: 4.5 cm long – 1¾ ins long p rov e na nc e: Ex Private English collection Nephrite has an ability to retain a very sharp hard cutting edge almost as good as steel and is well suited for use in woodworking. From the earliest Maori times until its final replacement by metal blades, the most common Maori use of nephrite was for adzes and chisels fashioned in a wide range of sizes for different woodworking tasks. Chisels were hafted into straight wooden handles and lashed in place with plaited flax fibre cords. It was then driven into the timber by short sharp blows from a wooden or whalebone mallet. Gouge chisels were a special invention for delicate woodcarving. When they were no longer required as tools these small blades were often given suspension holes and worn around the neck or as ear pendants.


[6] A Fine Wedgwood Black Basalt Bust of King George II in Parade Armour after an Ivory by John Michael Rysbrack Fine Condition Unmarked Late 18th Century/Circa 1773 – 1780

s i z e: 25 cm high, 9 cm sq (base) – 9¾ ins high, 3½ ins sq (base) c f: Dictionary of Wedgwood, Reilly & Savage, 1980, pg166, for an illustration of this model in Rosso Antico Wedgwood executed this bust in black basalt, jasper ware and rosso antico and it is often described as portraying the Duke of Marlborough. However, it is listed in Wedgwood’s catalogue of 1773 as a bust of George II from an ivory in the possession of Mr Ranby, carved by Mr Rysbrack. Although Rysbrack (1694 – 1770) did not work for Wedgwood directly the busts of George II, Ben Jonson and that of the philosopher John Locke, were all based on his ivory sculptures, probably through casts made by Hoskins or John Cheere. The last English King to lead his troops into battle at Dettingen in 1743, George II was known for his fiery temper and was intolerant in his dealings with politicians and others. However, his marriage to Princess Caroline of Ansbach was very successful and through her he learned to accept Walpole as his prime minister. Having resented his father George I because of his treatment of his mother Sophia Dorothea, he in turn was forever on bad terms with his own son, Prince Frederich Louis, later George III.


[7] A German Steel Hunting Crossbow the Boxwood Shaft and Carved Stock Elaborately Inlaid with Engraved Ivory Panels the Bow Strengthened with Original Rope Binding Mid 17th Century

s i z e: 71 cm long, 58.5 cm wide – 28 ins long, 23 ins wide The climax of medieval weapons technology was reached when the use of the crossbow became widespread in the 12th century, the Chinese having been credited with its invention. For a long time the crossbow was paramount in both hunting and war and was even superior to firearms in many respects. It was silent and did not cause the game to panic, it was very easy to handle and the missile or bolt when fired had considerable penetrating force. In war it was the silent assassin. The period from 1600 to 1800 is described by historians of the chase as the golden age of hunting. Never before or since has so much time and money been spent on costly hunting equipment. Hunting weaponry from this period is amongst the finest and technically perfect that has ever been created and the orders placed for elaborate engravings and ironwork used to decorate rifles, spears, swords, knives and crossbows must have guaranteed good livings for many workshops.


[8] Fijian Throwing Club I Ula Tavatava with Deco­rated Grip Smooth Glossy Patina 19th Century

s i z e: 42.5 cm high – 16¾ ins high s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 13, item no. 118, for another example Fijian warriors regarded their weapons not just as a tool for killing an enemy, but also as valuable commodities, and as powerful symbols of authority and masculinity. A weapon represented the sanction of the ancestral gods, and a club that had shed blood demonstrated its mana, its supernatural effectiveness to perform the task for which it was made. In 1884 the missionary Reverend Thomas Williams wrote regarding the ula another weapon much used is the missile club, which is worn in the girdle sometimes in pairs like pistols… This is hurled with great precision and used formerly to be the favourite implement of assassination (Rev. T. Williams; Fiji and the Fijians, Pg 47)


[9] Antique Specimen of a Narwhal Tusk Monodon Mono­cer­os An untouched surface with a smooth patina and a deep spiral twist 18th Century

s i z e: 137 cm long – 53½ ins long s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 3, item no. 40, catalogue no. 7, item no. 129, catalogue no. 13, item no. 123, and catalogue no. 19, item no. 72, for other examples In 1660 the German scholar J.F. Hubrigk demanded Is there any Prince, Duke or King in the world who has not either seen or possessed, and regarded as among the most precious of his possessions, a unicorn’s horn? The belief in the antidotal properties of unicorn horn came from the East, especially India where the origin of the legend of the unicorn was probably the rhinoceros, but in the west it was the much more distinctive, elegant and impressive narwhal tusk that became the unicorn horn, its true nature proclaimed by the unique spiral, its cochleary turnings as the 17th century English physician Sir Thomas Browne described it. And so the narwhal became the horn that princes coveted and that was worth ten times its weight in gold.


[10] A English Carved Beechwood Articulated Artists Lay Figure Early 19th Century

s i z e: 86 cm high – 34 ins high s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 4, item no. 70, and catalogue no. 14, item no. 28, for other examples Lay figures were used by painters and sculptors in place of living models when they were working on drapery and composition. They represent the ideal proportions of the human body and are made with pivoted ball joints allowing for a natural bending and turning of the limbs, head and torso. The faces were deliberately expressionless and the androgynous features of the head enable it to be dressed convincingly as either a man or woman. The use of the lay figure probably originated in ancient Greece where they assisted the classical sculptors in the posing of bare limbs. However, Vasari maintains it was Fra Bartolomino, the Italian Renaissance artist (1472 – 1517), who first devised a wooden, life size, fully articulated lay figure. Traditionally these three-dimensional sculpted wooden models were used as an aide-mémoire for an artist’s two dimensional work, a tradition that was perpetuated in the 20th century animation studios of Walt Disney.


[11] A South East Asian Carved Ivory and Elephant Hair Buddhist Scribes Manuscript Brush the Ends with Stylised Makaras Thailand or Burma Old smooth dark patina 18th Century s i z e: 10 cm high, 12 cm wide, 1.5 cm deep – 4 ins high, 4¾ ins wide, ½ ins deep p rov e na nc e: Ex English Private collection Burmese and Thai manuscripts are made of either palm leaf or paper although ivory, stiffened cloth and thin silver, gold or metal sheets were also used. Palm leaf manuscripts were made from the leaves of the talipot Corypha Umbraculifera. The leaves were separated from the central rib, dried, soaked, re-dried and rubbed smooth. The text was then incised on both sides of the leaf with a metal stylus after which the leaf was rubbed with charcoal dust or lamp black and the surplus brushed off, with a brush such as this example, leaving the incised text legible. The palm leaf edges were then usually gilded and the leaves stacked and threaded on string between decorated wooden binding boards. The most usual subjects for the texts were the life of the Buddha, court pastimes and Buddhist cosmology. By the nineteenth century these manuscripts were often worshipped as the embodiment of wisdom rather than read, but their commissioning was still a pious deed bringing merit to all associated with it.


[12] A Chinese Export Oil on Canvas Depicting the Emperor Jiajing (1796  – 1820) and his Empress Seated within the Inner Court of the Imperial Palace Beijing They wear embroidered yellow silk dragon robes and strings of pearls with red coral beads whilst a servant presents incense in a bronze censer kneeling on a red carpet woven with a dragon design Studio of Lam Qua Original lacquer frame Qing Dynasty / Circa 1800 – 20

s i z e: 50 cm high, 63 cm wide – 19¾ ins high, 24¾ ins wide s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 17, item no. 76, for a China Trade Painting of a Hong Merchant in the Manner of Spoilum It was in the last quarter of the 18th century that the Cantonese export artists began to use the western medium of oils on canvas. Guan Zuolin or Spoilum was the earliest of these artists, whilst his brother Lam Qua also later became a very successful exponent of the technique. Ting Qua was Spoilum’s son and became known for painting Chinese landscapes and river frontages in the Western style, including the British colony of Hong Kong, which had been annexed in 1843 following the first Opium War. What is now the UNESCO site of the Forbidden City in Beijing was known during the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) as the Imperial Palace. It is the largest architectural complex in China begun during the Ming Dynasty in 1407 and completed in 1420. In total it comprises more than nine thousand rooms, but it was within the inner court furnished almost entirely in red, that the Emperor lived with his imperial concubines, princes and empress dowagers.


[13] A Double Sided Seychelles Coco De Mer of Female Form 19th Century s i z e: 28.5 cm high, 28 cm wide, 15 cm deep – 11¼ ins high, 11 ins wide, 6 ins deep s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 3, item no. 35, catalogue no. 15, item no. 31 and catalogue no. 19, item no. 21, for other examples. Regarded as erotic objects for over three hundred years, coco de mer are the largest and heaviest known seed in the world. Originally found by chance drifting in the currents of the Indian Ocean they were believed to be an aphrodisiac because of their curiously suggestive female form. European sailors and merchant voyagers returning to port would gain a high price for their shapely double coconuts eagerly sought after by princely collectors.


[14] An English Renaissance Limestone Figure of St Anne Carved in the Round Seated reading an open book wearing an elaborate costume and a large rosary with pendant cross Probably a tomb figure or weeper First half 16th Century

s i z e: 14.5 cm high – 5¾ ins high St Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary, is often represented in art teaching the Virgin to read and this concept is English in origin. The most famous English shrine in her honour was at Buxton. Martin Luther bitterly attacked the Cult of St Anne, especially the images favoured by Renaissance artists representing her with Jesus and Mary. However, this did not prevent Rome extending her feast day to the Universal Church in 1584; a feast that had been obligatory in England since 1382. The custom of placing small statues around the tomb monuments of noblemen and women dates from the 13th century. They were called pleurants in French for mourners, but this was translated into English as weepers. This can cause confusion as these small sculptures are not always grieving figures expressing emotion for the deceased. They are sometimes saints and clerics praying for the soul of the departed, and sometimes they represent the heirs and close relatives of the deceased like a figurative form of an ancestral tree.


[15] A Bisected Anatomical Specimen of a Southern European Hermanns Tortoise Testudo Hermanni

Contained in a glass case Circa 1900 – 1920

s i z e: 13 cm high, 17 cm deep, 23.5 cm wide – 5¼ ins high, 6¾ ins deep, 9¼ ins wide The majority of Hermanns tortoises that were once imported into Britain died within a year, the climate being too cold and damp. However, specimens that were allowed the run of large gardens in Southern England were often very long lived. One that originally belonged to Archbishop Laud survived from 1633 to at least 1730, and possibly to 1753. It’s remains are still preserved at Lambeth Palace.


[16] A Fine Japanese Ivory Netsuke of a Skull Entwined with a Snake a Frog and Two Lizards Sitting on the Crown Signed Masayuki Late 19th Century – Meiji Period

s i z e: 4 cm deep, 3 cm wide, 4 cm high – 1½ ins deep, 1¼ ins wide, 1½ ins high s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 20, item no. 29, for a Carved Boxwood Netsuke of a Skeleton Signed Shoko Frogs snakes and lizards are associated in Japanese culture and are known as the creeping creatures of land and water. Together with the human skull they are symbolic of the transience of life and form a natural vanitas.


[17] A South African Dutch Cape of Good Hope Sandveld Child’s Chair Ebonised White Pear Wood with Rawhide Thong ‘Riempie’ Webbed Seat Early 19th Century

s i z e: 86.5 cm high – 34 ins high s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 5, item no. 21, for a collection of Six Dutch Cape Chairs c f: M Baraitser & A Obholzer, Cape Country Furniture 1978, for an example of a Sandveld chair Chairs were made at the South African Cape from the early 18th century onwards by joiners, turners and wood carvers who doubled up as house-wrights and wagon makers. Animal drawn vehicles were essential and wagon making became a lucrative industry. For many joiners this was their primary trade and they would only make furniture on the side when an order arose. Many chairs were constructed of the same indigenous woods as the wagons, produced in the same workshops and made with the same tools.


[18] South African Zulu Wooden Dance Staff Carved with an Abstract Anthropomorphic Head and Amasumpa decora­tion to the shaft Old deep glossy patina 19th Century

s i z e: 72.5 cm long – 28½ ins long Dance staffs were part of the accoutrements used in the igoma dance. The costumes worn by the dancers closely resembled 19th century Nguni military attire which consisted of layers of animal skins, beads and feathers. This was meant to impress, frighten, confuse and magically charm an enemy into impotency (M. Conner. Greub; 1988, pg 104). Dance staffs were often carved with abstract forms alluding to the shape of a human head and these staffs were treated as if they were a female dancing partner. The suggestive shaped spherical head facing the male dancer and thus infusing his movements with grace and vigour.


[19] A French Ivory and Tortoiseshell Table Snuff Box Finely Painted with a Satirical Political Scene Probably Relating to the State of France During the Reign of King Louis Philippe Signed Salvy Circa 1830 – 50

s i z e: 9.5 cm dia. 3 cm high – 3¾ ins dia. 1¼ ins high Depicted wearing a phrygian cap, the French Revolutionary symbol of liberty, one character looks on as another dressed in the uniform of a Captain of the Napoleonic Infantry turns away from the spectacle of a General pulling the moustache of a young boy. Although a field in which British artists have excelled, the greatest of all political caricaturists was the Frenchman Daumier (1808 – 79) who in 1832 was imprisoned for six months for his attacks on King Louis Philippe. In 1835 the French government prohibited political caricature and Daumier, an ardent republican, turned to social satire. However, he returned to political subjects in 1848 when Louis Philippe was deposed.


[20] Italian After the Antique Bronze of the Pugilist Damo­xenos of Syracuse after the Marble Sculpture by Antonio Canova First Half 19th Century

s i z e: 23 cm high, 26 cm high (with base) 18 cm wide, 7.5 cm deep – 9 ins high, 10¼ ins high (with base) 7 ins wide, 3 ins deep p rov e na nc e: Ex European collection The classical subject matter is taken from the writings of Pausanias who described the Nemean games. In the boxing competition between Damoxenos of Syracuse and Creugas of Durazzo it was decided, as there was no outright winner that each contestant would be allowed to strike one more blow. Creugas hit Damoxenos on the head, but then whilst Creugas held his left fist to his head, Damoxenos struck him on his side and tore out his viscera, killing him. The judges condemned the winner to exile while a statue to Creugas was erected in Argos. Canova described his sculpture of Damoxenos in 1802 as stronger and more Herculean in character than Creugas, and there is a display of the anatomical mastery which Canova had gained by drawing from the live model every morning. The concentration of strength, the pulling back of the arm, the head thrust forward ready to strike can all be seen in this bronze study of Canova’s masterpiece.


[21] An African Central Zaire Lega Peoples Ceremonial Head­ dress Made from the Bony Armour of a Temmincks Pangolin Surmounted with a Fibre Bound Boars Tusk the Fibre Chin Strap Edged with Cowrie Shells First Half 20th Century

s i z e: approx: 20 cm high, 17 cm dia. – 8 ins high, 6¾ ins dia. s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 12, item no. 31, for a specimen of a Temmincks Pangolin and catalogue no. 19, item no. 61, for another Lega hat c f: A Lega Headdress made from a Pangolin in the Stanley Collection of African Art in the University of Iowa Museum USA These ceremonial hats were regarded by the Lega as sacred objects and were only worn by high-ranking initiates of the Lega Bwami society. Demonstrating the status of its owner, the headdress was used in dances to carry an important symbolic message. To the Lega the pangolin is a cultural hero who, they believe, taught them how to roof their houses with an arrangement of large leaves similar to that of its bony scaly carapace. A pattern that is also used in the scarification of the body. Due to the Lega peoples belief in its sanctity strict laws guarantee the pangolin’s protection. They are therefore never hunted and only those found dead in the forest are used by them.


[22] A Fine German Art Nouveau Carved Ivory of the Pied Piper of Hamelin Seated Playing his Pipe with Three Rats at his Feet Mounted upon a rouge marble base Signed to the ivory plinth Hohlocher Circa 1890 – 1910

s i z e: 9.5 cm high – 3¾ ins high / 17 cm high – 6¾ ins high (including base) 7 cm sq – 2¾ins sq (base) p rov e na nc e: Ex Private European collection The legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, a town in Lower Saxony in Germany, begins in 1284 when the town was suffering from a huge rat infestation. A man dressed in colourful pied clothing appeared and promised the Mayor a solution to the plague of rats in return for fair payment. The Mayor promised to pay the piper who, immediately upon playing his pipes, lured all the rats toward the Weser River where all but one drowned. However, the Mayor then refused to pay the rat catcher in full and the Pied Piper left in anger vowing to seek revenge. On St John and St Paul’s Day, June 26th, he returned and playing his pipes he entranced the children of Hamelin, and led all 130 of them out of the town and up a hill to a cave which they entered, never to be seen again! Later versions such as that of the Brothers Grimm have three children who remain behind; one who was lame and could not follow quickly enough, one who was deaf and followed the others out of curiosity and the last who was blind and unable to see where he was going. These children returned and informed the villagers of what had happened when they came out of church. Curiously the town records show that in 1384 an entry was made stating: It is 100 years since our children left. Research has been undertaken since the 17th century to find a reason for the legend, but no explanation for the historical event has ever been agreed upon. However, one plausible recent theory suggests that the Hamelin exodus can be linked to the German colonisation and settlement of what is now north-western Poland during the 13th century. It is a fact that the area supposedly colonised has many families with surnames that are not Slavic, but are derived from the German ones that were common in 13th century Hamelin.


[23] A Large Victorian Mahogany Cased Taxidermy Display of 29 Birds Including 17 Exotic South and Central American Humming Birds, A New Guinea Bird of Paradise, An American Derby Flycatcher, A Tangara Bird and nine others of South American Origin

The glazed door opening to reveal a jungle setting the birds perched on flowering branches above a rock strewn pool Late 19th Century

s i z e: 77 cm high, 56.5 cm deep, 108 cm wide – 30¼ ins high, 22¼ ins deep, 42½ ins wide p rov e na nc e: Ex English Private collection s e e: Finch and Co catalogue no, 17, item no. 1, for a cased rare collection of 40 Australian Parrots and catalogue no. 19, item no. 20, for a Victorian architecturally cased specimen of an English Golden Eagle 29 Birds Including: Berylline Hummingbird Amazilia Beryllina; Blue Throated Hummingbird Lampornis Clemenciae; Rufous Hummingbird Selasphorus Rufus; Broad Billed Hummingbird Cyanthus Latirostris; New Guinea Count Raggi’s Bird of Paradise Paradisea Apoda Raggiana; Frilled Cocquette Lophornis Magnifica; Violet Sabre wing Campylopterus Hemileucurus; Derby Flycatcher Pitagangus Sulphuratus; Goulds Violet Ear Colibri Coruscans; and a species of brightly coloured Tangara Bird from the South American Tropics Described as winged jewels by ornithologists hummingbirds are the smallest birds in the world, fascinating both for their brilliant iridescent metallic plumage and their amazing powers of flight. They are capable of hovering motionless in the air whilst delicately feeding from flowers, their wings beating up to an unbelievable 78 beats a second. The Aztecs adorned the ceremonial cloaks of Montezuma with the brilliant plumage of hummingbirds and their brides were dressed in a profusion of dazzling hummingbird feather ornaments. Even today in Mexico the hummingbird is regarded as a potent amuletic device, and it is believed that holding one in the hand or pocket will magically draw the object of one’s desire. Birds of Paradise are the most ornate and colourful assemblage of birds in the world, and like the jewelled hummingbirds, their skins were to be found in Victorian shipments of brightly coloured birds that were sent back to Europe during the 1880’s for the feather trade.


[24] An Ancient Roman Marble Relief Fragment from a Sarcophagus Depicting Two Dionysian Dancing Figures The man wearing a low-girdled chiton a himation draped over his left shoulder the woman swaying in a loosely draped chiton falling from her shoulder 2nd – 3rd Century ad

s i z e: 36 cm high, 32 cm wide, 10 cm deep – 14 ins high, 12½ ins wide, 4 ins deep 41 cm high – 16 ins high (with stand) p rov e na nc e: From the Collection of Joseph Altounian, France, Acquired in 1920’s Thence by descent Dancing was an object of artistic cultivation amongst both the Greeks and Romans and was an exercise not just for the feet, but also for arms, hands and the whole body. Only professionals danced and for any other adult, even at social events, to perform a dance was regarded as impropriety. Religious performances were bound up with the worship of Apollo and Dionysus and consisted mainly of choral dances whose movement varied according to the character of the god and of the festival. During the Roman Imperial period the art of mimic dancing attained an astonishing degree of perfection and these performed by highly regarded artists, were a favourite entertainment.


[25] Important Documentary Narwhal Walking Cane with Walrus Ivory Knop The silver collar inscribed: Brought Home in the Fox by Geo. Edwards and Sent out by Lady Franklin 1859 The screw top revealing a snuff compartment Untouched smooth aged patina 19th Century / Circa 1859

s i z e: 90 cm long – 35½ ins long p rov e na nc e: George Edwards was part of the crew of the steam yacht Fox and was the ship’s carpenter’s mate (see McClintock’s list of officers and ship’s company) Thence by descent In 1845 Rear Admiral Sir John Franklin (1786 – 1847), a heroic Arctic explorer and Governor of Tasmania from 1836 to 1843, set off from England to locate and chart the elusive Northwest Passage. A veteran of the Battle of Copenhagen and of Trafalgar both he and his crew of 129 men never returned. Over the following decade forty expeditions were launched in an effort to determine the fate of the missing men. Eventually traces of their demise were discovered along the western shore of King William Island in the north of Canada. In a final attempt to locate their remains Franklin’s wife, Lady Jane, sponsored an expedition to be led by Captain Leopold McClintock. A taciturn Irishman of 38 he was one of the Navy’s best Arctic sledge travellers. McClintock and an experienced crew of 25 set off in 1857 on the extensively refitted steam yacht Fox. On this quest the always adventurous McClintock became the first European to navigate Bellot strait before finding secure winter anchorage to the east of the Boothia Peninsula. Whilst the Fox was frozen into the Arctic ice of winter he and his men made long and arduous exploratory journeys by dogsled. When they finally reached King William Island they discovered a cairn at Victory Point and a note from Franklin’s expedition, the only written message ever to be found, that stated Franklin had died on June 11th 1847.


Prior to the expedition of the Fox, the Scottish explorer Dr John Rae whilst surveying the Boothia Peninsula for the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1854 discovered the fate of Franklin party from talking to Inuit hunters. He was told that both of Franklin’s ships, the Terror and the Erebus, had become ice bound, the men had tried to reach safety on foot, but had succumbed to cold and some had resorted to cannibalism. Rae’s report to the Admiralty was leaked to the press, which led to widespread revulsion in Victorian British Society. Franklin’s widow was enraged and took it as a slanderous affront to her late husband and condemned Rae to ignominy. In an effort to eulogise her husband, and with support from the British establishment, another 25 searches over the following 40 years were carried out to find more information on the fate of Franklin and his crew. None was ever found, although these searches did much to open up the Arctic region in terms of geography and ethnography. McClintock’s discovery in 1859 of human remains and all manner of artefacts, including the only written record, made much of the expedition’s fate evident to all, and interestingly modern medical evidence now supports Rae’s report with cut marks having been found on two of the crew’s skeletons. In McClintock’s journal of the two-year voyage of the Fox he describes how the Esquimaux bartered goods with the ships crew. Handsaws were most eagerly sought for cutting up the long strips of whalebone, which they used for runners on their sledges, and to protect the most exposed parts of their kayaks and paddle edges from the polar ice. Files, spears, knives and large needles were also prized and in exchange the Eskimo would present the sailors with narwhal tusks, wood for fuel and seal meat. On his return McClintock was knighted, his naval career assured for the rest of his long life. He and his crew, including George Edwards, were awarded the Arctic medal in recognition of their achievements. The small, but sturdy vessel of the Fox went on to support a transatlantic cable survey in 1860, then did service in the Danish trade with Greenland between 1864 and 1905. In 1912 she was grounded off the west coast of Greenland where remnants of her metal engine were still visible in 1994. But to this day, despite repeated investigation in likely locations, the final resting places of Sir John Franklin’s two ships, the Erebus and the Terror are unknown… the Franklin mystery lives on.


[26] A Fine Ottoman Turkish Sherbet Spoon with an Ebony Bowl and a Relief Carved Coral and Ebony Stem Surmounted by a Large Red Coral Branch Finial Late 18th Century

s i z e: 25.5 cm long, 5 cm wide – 10 ins long, 2 ins wide p rov e na nc e: From the collection of Field Marshall Horatio Kitchener of Khartoum, 1st Earl Kitchener 1850 – 1916 Thence by descent The majority of the Lord Kitchener of Khartoum collection was auctioned in 1938. How­ ever, some 70 years later the family found several items laying forgotten in a cellar. s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 13, item no. 34, for a collection of sixteen and catalogue no. 15, item no. 34, for three other examples c f: Topkapi the Treasury 1987, J M Rogers, 114b for three very similar examples Topkapi Palace formed the centre of the Ottoman world. For almost four centuries the palace patronised the fine arts producing textiles, jewels, carpets, calligraphy, arms and armour, manuscripts and bookbinding. The palace servants and concubines were recruited from far-flung provinces of the empire and the Ottoman rulers also had a penchant for precious stones and exotic materials and these also imported from distant shores were then used to achieve the most magnificent result possible in the palace workshops. For wealthy Europeans these luxury goods became status symbols whilst in the early 1800’s, from London to Paris, it became the height of fashion to dress à la Turca.


[27] Fine Japanese Boxwood and Ivory Netsuke of Chokaro Senin with his Magic Horse Appearing from and Disappearing into a Gourd Signed in raised relief to a rectangular tablet at the back of the gourd which acts as the Himotoshi Yoshihide (Hoshu) Tokyo school Late 19th Century – Meiji period

s i z e: 4.5 cm high, 2.5 cm dia. – 1¾ ins high, 1 ins dia. / 5 cm high – 2 ins high (with horse exposed) p rov e na nc e: Ex Luis Esteves Fernandes (1897 – 1988) collection Portuguese minister to Japan during W W I I 1939 – 45, Portuguese ambassador to Washington 1950 – 61 Thence by descent s e e: Finch and Co catalogue no. 19, item no. 63, for a boxwood netsuke of a skeleton and wolf signed Shoko c f: Neil Davy; Netsuke pg166 no. 496, Ex W.W. Winkworth collection The netsuke illustrates the legend of Chokaro, one of the Taoist immortals, or Senin, and his magic horse which carried him thousands of miles yet could be tucked into a gourd. A popular Japanese saying is based on the surprise of Chokaro’s horse emerging from the gourd: Hyotan kara koma meaning an unexpected occurrence.


[28] A Large Victorian Specimen of Bracket Fungus Ganoderma Resinaceum Mounted to Function as a Wall Bracket Late 19th Century s i z e: 28 cm high, 25.5 cm deep, 42.5 cm wide – 11 ins high, 10 ins deep, 16¼ ins wide s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 11, item no. 101, for another example Throughout history fungus in all its myriad forms and varieties has been regarded as magical. Mysteriously appearing overnight from the soil or bark of a tree, fungi were often associated with the spirits of the woods and fields. Some are edible and highly sought after such as the truZe, and some so highly toxic, such as the destroying angel, that one small piece ingested can kill a man.


[29] An Unusual Carved Pear-Wood Comic Theatrical Nose Worn by a Jester or Pulcinella Figure Traces of reddish pink pigment 17th – 18th Century

s i z e: 13.5 cm high, 5 cm wide, 7 cm deep – 5¼ ins high, 2 ins wide, 2¾ ins deep Grossly exaggerated facial features were part of the masked theatrical tradition of Commedia dell’arte in mannerist Italy. The Neapolitan tradition featured the prominent stage figure of Pulcinella whose mask featured a deformed nose and whose influence gave rise to Mr Punch, an English comedy figure popular to this day. Masks enabled the players performing in groups of three or four to assume a variety of roles, and to switch roles with ease and rapidity. This nose is very effective when worn with a ribbon tied around the head from the hole in the top flange, which is then hidden, by an upper face or carnival mask.


[30] A Large Specimen of an African Leopard Tort­oise­shell Geochelone Paradalis Babcocki 19th Century s i z e: 18.5 cm high, 32 cm long, 23.5 cm wide – 7¼ ins high, 12½ ins long, 9¼ ins wide s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 8, item no. 54, for a collection of eight smaller spotted leopard tortoiseshells The high domed shell of the African Leopard Tortoise can be observed in the Kruger National Park moving through the undergrowth. Their shells provide them with camouflage whilst they feed on succulents such as cotyledons, fungi and the fallen fruit of the prickly pear. They have been known to live for up to 75 years in captivity and can exist for many more in the wild.


[31] Victorian Specimen of an Exotic Indian Star Tort­oiseshell Geochelone Elegans 19th Century s i z e: 12.5 cm high, 24 cm long, 15 cm wide – 5 ins high, 9½ ins long, 6 ins wide s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 6, item no. 66, for another example The Indian Star tortoise was once one of the most familiar of exotic tortoises in captivity. Found in Sri Lanka and peninsular India it is a comparatively small species with a typical shell pattern of radiating yellow streaks running from a central scute star that extend down to the margins of the dark brown shell. Although striking in the hand, these radiations in the wild provide a very effective camouflage for this arid land tortoise when resting in the heat of the day in tussocks of dry grass.


[32] A Rare Wedgwood Black Basalt Oval Plaque Decorated in Relief with the Triumph of James II King of England Scotland and Ireland Crowned by Peace and Justice with Discord Beneath his Feet Contained within a silver mount with an integral easel support, an inscription to the reverse Fine condition Impressed mark upper case W E DGWOOD Late 18th Century / Circa 1773 – 80 s i z e: 14 cm high, 12 cm wide, 2.5 cm deep – 5½ high, 4¾ ins wide, 1 ins deep The majority of Wedgwood’s portrait medallions and plaques were adapted from existing medals, relief’s cast in paste, carvings in ivory, wax portraits or horn medallions. The rest were modelled in wax either ad vivum or from engravings, drawings, portraits in oils or sculpture by artists employed or commissioned by Wedgwood. Black basalt made a marvellous medium for portraiture plaques. As hard as both glass and porcelain, it was produced to give the appearance of antique bronze.


An interesting inscription in white to the reverse of this plaque details the source for this scene as being a French late 17th century carved ivory plaque in the Victoria and Albert Museum signed Jacobus Constantin fecit. It states: probably French 17th century and possibly made to commemorate the suppression of the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685. This was an insurrection in South West England against King James II led by the Duke of Monmouth, illegitimate son of Charles II. The Duke of Argyll led a revolt in Scotland against James and persuaded Monmouth to launch a rebellion in the South West. He landed at Lyme Regis in Dorset and was proclaimed King at Taunton, but could muster only limited support. He failed to take Bristol and with forces inferior in training, experience and equipment to the King’s army was routed at Sedgemoor. Monmouth was captured a few days later and executed. James punished all those involved through the Bloody Assizes, a series of trials held in the South West by Judge Jereys. Of 1400 prisoners brought before him, 300 were hanged and 800 were sold as slaves in the Colonies. Already disliked for his staunch Catholicism, these trials were so resented that within three years of his accession he had provoked the widespread opposition that culminated in the Glorious Revolution which replaced him on the throne with William and Mary. James II escaped to France where he was warmly received by Louis XIV and there later died in exile.


[33] An English Portrait Oil on Canvas of Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790) Scientist, Diplomat, Philosopher, Inventor and Founding Father of the United States of America Gilt wood frame 18th Century / Circa 1757 – 64

s i z e: 19 cm high, 16.5 cm wide – 7 ½ ins high, 6½ ins wide 26 cm high, 23.5 cm wide – 10¼ ins high, 9¼ ins wide (including frame) Although inscribed in ink to the reverse of the frame Benjamin Franklin, probably painted as a sketch to a big picture about the time of Franklin’s visit to Europe for the Treaty of Versailles September 30th 1782 it is far more likely that this study was painted around the time of Franklin’s second visit to London in 1757. Franklin first visited Britain in 172w5 to further his knowledge of the printing trade and returned in 1726 to found a newspaper The Pennsylvania Chronicle. He returned in 1757 as a diplomat for the Pennsylvania Assembly and quickly became involved in radical politics. In February 1759 he visited Edinburgh with his son William and was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Law by St Andrew’s University. In 1762 Oxford University awarded him an honorary Doctorate for Scientific Studies. At this time he also became a corresponding member of the Birmingham based Lunar Society whose members included Sir Erasmus Darwin, Dr Joseph Priestley, Matthew Boulton, Samuel Galton and James Watt, all of whom had their portraits painted during this period. In 1771 he toured through different regions of Britain and went to Ireland where he was moved by the level of poverty that he saw. Ireland’s economy was affected by the same British trade regulations and laws that governed America and Franklin feared that it would suffer the same effects if British colonial exploitation was allowed to continue. An ardent republican, Franklin emphasised that the new republic could only survive if people were virtuous both in civic society and in their personal lives. When he first met Voltaire as an ambassador to France from 1776 – 1785 he asked the great philosopher of the enlightenment to bless his grandson. Voltaire, placing his hand on the child’s head, replied God and Liberty adding this is the only appropriate benediction for the grandson of Monsieur Franklin. From 1757 to 1775 he lived in London at 36 Craven Street and this Georgian residence has become a museum dedicated to Franklin’s life and work.


[34] A Pacific Northwest Coast Haida Carved and Pigmented Cedarwood Portrait of a European Methodist Mission­ary Standing holding a hat and walking stick wearing a frock coat with a collar and necktie Perhaps a guardian spirit figure The Base Inscribed in Ink … January 1859… Kamisalski… Second Half 19th Century/Circa 1859

s i z e: 26 cm high – 10¼ ins high p rov e na nc e: Ex English Private collection c f: A Bella Bella standing figure carved of cedar wearing a peaked cap with his hands in his trouser pockets (R.O.M. 23192) Royal Ontario Museum, Canada For centuries the Haida lived on the Queen Charlotte Islands, a remote archipelago off the Northwest coast of Canada. The first European’s landed on their shores in 1774 and found a distinctive and powerful style of sculpture and painting. Haida art was used as a means of displaying myth, lineage and history, all of which were bound by ceremony and entwined as an integral part of their life. The coming of the 19th century Christian missionaries radically altered North West coast society. Every community underwent fundamental reorganisation and their native languages and all-important Potlatch ceremonies were banned. Some artists who went on practising native traditions were sent to jail, and so many began to masquerade their old beliefs and art as newly conceived products for the tourist trade.


[35] A Rare Early English Carved Ivory Lottery or Teetotum Gambling Ball Etched with a Crown and Incised on 32 Sides with the Numbers 1 to 32 Old smooth creamy yellow patina Late 17th Century

s i z e: 5 cm dia. – 2 ins dia. s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 20, item no. 42, for an example inscribed Royal Oak Teetotum balls give the gambler more of a winning chance than a spinning dice, because when thrown the faceted numbered sides of a ball give an equal chance of any number turning up, unlike dice. Lotteries first began to be an acceptable form of raising money for government funds under Elizabeth I in 1568 – 69 when urgent repairs to the harbours and coastal fortifications of England were needed to repel any seaborne invasion from the Spanish. Successive Acts of Parliament then established lotteries as a legitimate means of increasing revenue and they became a lucrative source of government income even during the Commonwealth under the puritan rule of Oliver Cromwell.


[36] The Headhunted Skull of an Assam Hills Naga Warrior Inscribed on the Left Temporal Bone a.h.d. a.m. staff, east n frontier column taungdwinghee, upper burma 1886 With lower mandible 19th Century

s i z e: 16.5 cm high, 21.5 cm deep, 12.5 cm wide – 6½ ins high, 8½ ins deep, 5 ins wide p rov e na nc e: Collected by Captain Charles Wilfred Hext during the 3rd AngloBurmese war Thence by descent Sold at auction 2010, as part of the contents of Holywath the Hext family home in Coniston, Lake District In 1911 Captain Charles Wilfred Hext was in charge of Native Transport in the Upper Dihong Punitive Expeditionary Force and collected artefacts and took photographs of the Naga peoples. In the late 19th century the British were the first outsiders to make contact with the Naga and to study their culture. Living high up in the Indian Assam hills bordering Burma the Naga were infamous headhunters. The Naga warriors believed the heads they took in battle to be amuletic and that the skulls when carefully placed were capable of averting evil. During the World War II the British made use of their fierce war-like nature and recruited many Naga men as scouts for the army.


[37] A Fine North Italian Baroque Carved Boxwood Plaque Attri­b­uted to Andrea Brustolon (1662 – 1732) Depicting cupid riding a lion his bow and arrows beneath the lions paws An old inscription in ink to the reverse … Brustolon… Il Zanaeno Venezia 1679 17th Century/Circa 1679

s i z e: 16.5 cm high, 13.5 cm wide – 6½ ins high, 5¼ ins wide s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 3, item no. 72, for a 17th century French carved ebony plaque depicting Neptune and Sea Nymphs Andrea Brustolon is known for his baroque carvings in walnut, boxwood and ebony, especially for his extravagant and elaborately constructed figurative furniture. A set of twelve chairs profusely decorated with flowers, fruit and foliage symbolising the twelve months of the year can be found in the Palazzo Quirinale in Venice. Always identified by his familiar bow and arrows, Cupid in antiquity was thought of as a beautiful, but wanton boy with a quiver full of arrowed desires. Depicted confidently riding upon a lion that he is leading with a loose rein, the scene is an allegory for love tames all.


[38] An African Central Pende Miniature Anthropomorphic Carved Elephant Ivory Amuletic Figure Ikhoko With hands clasped to the chest, large feet an overshot jaw and the face of a Monkey / Man Late 19th – Early 20th Century s i z e: 5 cm high – 2 ins high p rov e na nc e: Ex Fred North collection Ex Private English collection The Pende carve miniature masks, and more rarely full figures, in elephant ivory and also in the soft thighbones of hippopotami. Sculptors prefer elephant ivory because of its smooth, cool texture and because when carved correctly, it does not crack with age. Although western European collectors prize a golden patina the Pende would work to preserve the original white of the ivory for as long as possible. They would scrub the amulets from time to time with sand to keep the ivory from darkening from the smoke of house fires.


[39] An Ancient Egyptian Green Glazed Faïence Amulet of the Crocodile God Sobek 3rd Intermediate Period /1069 – 747 bc

s i z e: 3 cm long – 1¼ ins long p rov e na nc e: Ex English Private collection s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 4, item no. 37, for a blue faïence amulet of Isis, Nebhat and Horus At Medinet El-Fayum the ancient Egyptian town of Shedyet was a cult centre for the god Sobek and was later known as Crocodilopolis due to the large numbers of sacred crocodiles that were kept in the private pools of the temples dedicated to the god. These were cared for and venerated by the priests of the god Sobek and on their death given proper burials. However, like many other Egyptian deities from the Middle Kingdom onwards the crocodile god gradually became assimilated into the cult of the pre-eminent state god Amun, and in the form of Sobek-Ra was worshipped as another omnipotent manifestation of the sun god. This association later became so close that crocodiles became identified with the Greek god Helios.


[40] A Fine Ottoman Turkish Sherbet Spoon with a Mother of Pearl Shell Bowl the Relief Carved Stem of Shell and Coral Surmounted by a Red Coral Branch Finial Late 18th Century

s i z e: 23.5 cm long, 6.5 cm wide – 9¼ ins long, 2½ ins wide p rov e na nc e: From the collection of Field Marshall Horatio Kitchener of Khartoum, 1st Earl Kitchener 1850 – 1916 Thence by descent The majority of the Lord Kitchener of Khartoum collection was auctioned in 1938. However, some 70 years later the family found several items laying forgotten in a cellar. s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 13, item no. 34, for a collection of sixteen and catalogue no. 15, item no. 34, for three other examples c f: Topkapi the Treasury 1987, J M Rogers, 114b for three very similar examples The Ottomans liked using multiple materials in combination and the craftsmen at the Topkapi Palace produced many luxury items using exotic materials from around the world. Artists, architects and craftsmen engaged in all the various decorative arts were employed within the grounds of the palace. Rather than relying on placing orders with independent masters, the Ottomans kept co-opting the best artists they could find into their own palace workshops. Records show that at the beginning of the 16th century over 360 artisans were employed and that by the end of the century this number had risen to over 1500 craftsmen, all on the payroll of the palace, but by the end of the 18th century their number had been considerably reduced to a mere 186.


[41] A Polynesian Tongan Coconut Leafstalk War Club Apa Apai Carved of Ironwood and finely engraved to the head with textile designs incorporating eighteen stylised glyphs of Humans, Frigate Birds and Mantarays A small lug to the butt end Early 19th Century s i z e: 88.5 cm long – 34¾ ins long p rov e na nc e: From the Estate of a deceased English furniture dealer found by his family in his workshop s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 4, item no. 75, for a Tongan Moungalauau War club Finely engraved using stone, bird bone or sharks tooth tools this club expresses the characteristically refined and complex style of Tongan decoration practised on war clubs in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The numerous zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures symbolically display the weapons mana and it would have been a treasured possession. Both on Tonga and Fiji war occupied the entire male population. Boys were trained in the wielding and parrying of arms from infancy, only being bestowed with a real man’s name once they had slain an enemy. Most fights commenced with a skirmish, showers of arrows, slung stones and spears being exchanged, but casualties became serious when the opposing parties came to grips with clubs. Effective in close combat, clubs could shatter an enemy’s skull and cause irreversible damage to what Tongans and Fijians considered the most sacred part of the anatomy – the head.


[42] An Unusually Large German Turned Boxwood Set of Paternoster Rosary Beads with Pendant Cross Late 17th – Early 18th Century

s i z e: approx: 52 cm long – 20½ ins long s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 3, item no. 19, for a 17th century large Indo-Portuguese Mother of Pearl Rosary Paternoster beads are traditionally reserved for the Lords Prayer. The use of beads for saying prayers began in medieval European monasteries almost a thousand years ago. However, in the mid 16th century Pope Pius V decreed that the rosary had been invented by Saint Dominic (1170 – 1231). Although there is little historical evidence to support this claim, a series of Popes have approved the tradition and today the Dominicans are officially in charge of making rosaries. Many beads were considered talismanic, a device to win the beneficence of God, but St Augustine admonished the faithful: God is a circle whose centre is everywhere and advised the thoughtful, solitary manipulation of prayer beads to enhance a contemplative state of mind. He believed the repetitious handling of the circular beads helped the worshipper to concentrate on spiritual inward needs.


[43] An Ivory Portrait Relief Mounted on Glass by G Stephany and J Dresch in Original Oval Mahogany Frame Inscribed to the reverse Mr James Flowers Father of Arthur Flowers Circa 1790 – 1810

s i z e: 12.5 cm high, 10 cm wide – 5 ins high, 4 ins wide s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 14, item no. 40, and catalogue no. 19, item no. 36, for other portrait reliefs by Stephany and Dresch c f: An ivory portrait of Charlotte Princess Royal by Stephany and Dresch acquired by Queen Mary and now in the Queen’s Collection Stephany and Dresch worked in both London and Bath in the late 18th and early 19th century. Their work was much in demand from members of the court and fashionable society. So celebrated did they become that George III granted them the title of sculptors in miniature on ivory to their Majesties.


[44] Collection of Baltic Amber in its Natural State Together with a Large Translucent Nugget Containing In­clusions of Plant Material s i z e: approx: 7 cm high, 7 cm wide, 3.5cm deep – 2¾ ins high, 2¾ ins wide, 1¼ ins deep (largest nugget) s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 4, item no. 110, for another collection found on the beach at Southwold over a 30 year period Regarded as a semi-precious gemstone, amber is the fossilised resin of extinct coniferous trees. It is found in 200 different places throughout the world in various forms and colours. This collection is of succinite amber from the Baltic produced some 30 – 50 million years ago. During heavy storms Baltic amber is torn from the seabed and carried by the waves to be eventually washed up onto the shoreline. The English east coast is a well-known source. Amber feels softer to the touch than stone and appears warm when held in the hand, and if it is rubbed it smells of pine. The clear, yellow pieces that shine in the sunlight are the easiest to recognise, but pieces in other colours and larger lumps can be found at the edge of the sea.


[45] An African Angola Loango Coast Ivory Tusk Carved in Relief with Scenes of Local Commerce and Daily Life in an Continuous Spiral Band 19th Century /Circa 1860 – 70

s i z e: 50 cm long – 19¾ ins long s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 5, item no. 64, and catalogue no. 19, item no. 25, for other examples Originally an old ivory tribal oliphant or trumpet this tusk has been expressively carved with detailed and vivid images of the 19th century European and West African trade in slaves, animals, ivory, fish, timber, rubber and other commodities. It accurately depicts colonial life as it was in the coastal trading stations on the Loango Coast. They are always carved with continuous spiralling scenes which are meant to be seen as separate vignettes; the spiral alluding to the path the Kongo people believe the dead follow from earth to the ancestral realm and back again to be reborn.


[46] A Rare Antique Taxidermy Specimen of a Galapagos Islands Tortoise with Domed Shell Geochelone Elephantopus Darwini from James Island 19th Century

s i z e: 25.5 cm high, 26 cm long, 46 cm wide – 10 ins high, 22 ins long, 18 ins wide s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 6, item no. 31, for an example of a Giant Galapagos Islands Tortoiseshell Geochelone Nigra With a huge carapace, massive limbs and a long neck the Galapagos tortoise is the largest living tortoise in the world. This is partly due to its adaptation to living in an environment with an unreliable food supply as the larger the tortoise the more food it can store. The species with domed shells generally graze on grasses whilst those with saddle-backed shells are adapted for browsing shrubs. By 1875 they were so reduced in number it took Commander Cookson over a fortnight to find a single specimen on Indefatigable Island. However, since 1965 the Charles Darwin Research Station has worked hard to eradicate the non-indigenous feral goats, rats and pigs on the Islands that eat the tortoise’s eggs and have run a successful breeding programme boosting their numbers considerably, with the Ecuadorian National Park Service recently estimating a population of 3000 to 3500 individual tortoises.


[47] A Fine Double Sided Seychelles Coco De Mer of Female Form 19th Century

s i z e: 26.5 cm high, 30.5 cm wide, 17 cm deep – 10½ ins high, 12 ins wide, 6¾ ins deep s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 3, item no. 35, catalogue no. 15, item no. 31 and catalogue no. 19, item no. 21, for other examples A maldivian coco is described in the 1737 inventory of the Royal Danish Kunstkammer at Rosenberg Castle in Copenhagen as complete, rare and beautiful. However, the mysterious and legendary coco de mer actually comes from two of the 115 islands that make up the Seychelles in the West Indian Ocean and not from the Maldives as originally thought. The 17th century botanist Rumphius found them floating in the seas off the Maldive Islands, and so the double nuts were erroneously given the Latin name Lodoicea Maladivica by which they have been known ever since.


[48] A German Kabinettkunst

A lathe turned ivory and horn tower ornament, the flowers on slender carved horn stems and leaves, which tremble and dance with the slightest touch. A nutmeg to the top of the spiral twisted stem Contained in original paper lined shaped pine box Late 17th Century – Early 18th Century s i z e: 19 cm high – 7½ ins high / case: 5 cm high, 5.5 cm wide, 22.5 cm long – 2 ins high, 2¼ ins wide, 9 ins long Aesthetically pleasing and artistically fascinating, the art of turning ivory on a lathe to produce varying geometrical shapes was extremely popular in the northern courts of Europe. Practised as a form of leisure activity by the aristocracy, it was a major domestic art form comparable perhaps with embroidery. The tradition dated back to the 16th and 17th centuries when ivory turning was patronised by royalty. Christof Angermair (1580 – 1633) was the court turner to Maximilian, Elector of Bavaria and was held in such high esteem by his master that he was allowed to marry into the noble family.


[49] A South German Carved and Gessoed Life-Size Limewood Vanitas of a Human Skull 17th Century

s i z e: 14.5 cm high, 17 cm deep, 11.5 cm wide – 5¾ ins high, 6¾ ins deep, 4½ ins wide s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 3, item no. 23, for a Marble Vanitas and item no. 45, for a Renaissance Limestone Memento Mori The depiction of the skull in art and sculpture has been the most widespread personification of death for over 600 years. Memento mori acted as objects to provoke meditation on the transience of life and as a reminder of the humility of death. Whatever one’s status and wealth in life everyone must come in the end to the same condition.


[50] A German Carved Boxwood Model of a Human Skull Memento Mori Late 17th – Early 18th Century s i z e: 4.5 cm high, 5 cm deep, 4 cm wide – 1¾ ins high, 2 ins deep, 1½ ins wide s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 10, item no. 79, for an example of a mid 17th Silver Skull Vanitas Carefully placed on a desktop or library shelf a skull invites the viewer to remember me. Symbolic of the transience of all human existence, the image of the skull has been used by philosophers and theologians, artists and sculptors, writers and poets for centuries to provoke meditative thought on the indiscriminate nature of death.


[51] An African Western Cameroon Grasslands Kaka Chiefs Hat the Woven Palm Fibre Cap with Projecting Porcupine Quills First Half 20th Century

s i z e: approx: 50 cm long, 24 cm dia. – 19¾ ins long, 9½ ins dia. s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 19, item no. 6, for a similar example In African art wild animals are depicted much more frequently than domesticated ones. It is not the animals that are usually associated in the minds of western Europeans with Africa such as zebras, giraffes, lions and cheetahs that are represented, but those more remarkable for how they behave and look. Aardvarks, chameleons, crocodiles, hyenas, hornbills, pangolins and porcupines are all exceptional in their appearance and provide the most useful symbolic expressions of human situations and ritual ceremonies. This ornate cap imitates the elaborate ornamental hairstyles once worn by the men in the Cameroon’s, with porcupine quills embellishing the projecting knitted palm fibre burls. It probably denoted high social status and was worn on ceremonial occasions.


[52] A Sailors Narwhal Tusk Walking Cane Smooth old polished creamy yellow patina Early 19th Century

s i z e: 84.5 cm long – 33¼ ins long p rov e na nc e: Ex English Private collection s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 15, item no. 49, for another Sailors narwhal tusk cane Lieutenant Edward Chappel of the Royal Navy stopped in 1814 at the Savage Islands in the Hudson Strait where he was shown arrows headed with sea-unicorn’s horn. The British Arctic explorer Sir Leopold McClintock in 1857 wrote that most of the polar Inuit carried a spear formed out of the horn of a narwhal. In a land where even a small piece of driftwood was rare and precious, narwhal tusks took the place of wood. The Inuit have hunted narwhals for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years and visiting sailors trading with them have taken the tusks on board ship and sometimes fashioned them into useful objects during the long voyage home.


[53] A Sailors Cosh and Club made from the Penis Bone of an Arctic Walrus Odobenus Rosmarus Mounted with two silver bands in the form of buckled belts English or American Old smooth creamy white patina Mid 19th Century

s i z e: 48 cm long – 19 ins long s e e: Finch & Co catalogue no. 12, item no. 106, for an Eskimo hunting club made from the penis bone of an Arctic Walrus In 1604 Stephen Bennett, an English sailor and adventurer, brought back to London a living young walrus he had captured in the Bear Islands. It excited much curiosity; The King and many honourable personages beheld it with admiration for the strangeness of the same, the like where of had never before beene seene alive in England. Known by sailors as the sea horse, 19th century naturalists believed the walrus to be the connecting link between mammals of the land and those of the sea. The male walrus lacks any externally visible penis, and in order to control body temperature in freezing Arctic waters, it is internal and supported by a large bone, a baculum. Mating takes place on land in the late spring and early summer.


[54] An Ancient Romano-Egyptian Large Alabaster Bowl the Footed Wide Flattened Body with a Heavy Neck Rim Made with the use of a lathe, polished with abrasives and water Superb creamy ivory colour and patina Old cracks to the rim and foot Late Antique Egypt 1st – 3rd Century ad

s i z e: 37.5 cm dia., 18 cm high – 14¾ ins dia., 7 ins high p rov e na nc e: Ex Private UK collection, purchased circa 1965 The Ernest Brummer Collection of Egyptian and Near Eastern Antiquities Sotheby’s, London, Nov 16th 1964, Lot 7 e x h i b i t e d: Brooklyn Museum January–March 1941 Paganism and Christianity in Egypt – Egyptian Art from the 1st to the 10th Century Lent by Brummer Gallery no t e: Ernest and his brother Joseph Brummer were major dealers firstly in Paris and


then from 1921 to 1949 in New York. They also collected widely and many pieces from their estate are now in the Metropolitan Museum of New York c f: John Boardman; The George Ortiz Collection No. 240, for a Crystalline marble bowl made with the use of a lathe and polished, Romano-Egyptian 3rd Century ad After Octavian’s defeat of Antony and Cleopatra at the naval battle of Actium in 31bc the Hellenistic Kingdom of the Ptolemies in Egypt became the private possession of the Roman Emperor. Egypt became the chief supplier of grain for the gigantic population of Rome and also supplied marbles, stones and other materials from its quarries in the eastern desert. Both porphyry and alabaster were quarried and exploited by the Romans between the 1st and 5th centuries ad. Fine stonework bowls and platters made of alabaster were used by wealthy Romans to serve their quests. Valued and appreciated throughout the centuries they were often later reused in the Christian churches as baptismal and holy water fonts.


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Finch & Co - Catalogue 21  
Finch & Co - Catalogue 21  
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