AboutEver since he first drew on the walls of his cave, man has had the desire to depict the creatures around him. The Sladmore Gallery, 57 Jermyn Street, St James's, London, is renowned for exhibiting animal sculpture from the last 200 years, and has now invited Rupert Wace Ancient Art to introduce collectors to a veritable menagerie from the ancient world, spanning a period of some 2,400 years. A Collector's Menagerie: Animal Sculpture from the Ancient World will be on view from Wednesday 12 to Friday 28 May 2010. Around 70 important and appealing pieces will be offered for prices ranging from £1,000 to over £150,000.
The earliest piece in the exhibition is a Hittite stone head of a goat, dating from the 3rd millennium BC (fig. 1). The most recent is a Byzantine bronze finial in the form of a dove dating from around the 5th century AD, possibly an early Christian piece representing Noah's Dove, a symbol of resurrection.
Birds and animals played an important role in every aspect of ancient Egyptian culture. They believed that the world was inhabited by unseen powers and forces which could be made manifest by the behaviour and characteristics of living creatures. Thus, deities could take the form of animals though, even if a deity adopted a certain animal form, not all members of that particular species were sacred. Some animals were never associated with a deity but had a symbolic significance while others appear only as hieroglyphic signs in the written Egyptian language.
Visitors to the exhibition will be fascinated by the fine craftsmanship of this amazing collection of creatures great and small, which still thrill and amuse today.
Rupert Wace has been dealing in antiquities for over 30 years, opening his own business in 1988. He has handled the private sales of antiquities from the British Rail Pension Fund and his clients include major international collectors as well as some of the world's great museums such as the British Museum and the Ashmolean Museum in the UK; the Musée du Louvre, Paris; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Antikenmuseum, Basel, and the Staatliche Museum in Munich. Rupert Wace is Vice Chairman of the Antiquities Dealers Association in the UK and also of the International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art, both of which rigorously uphold the ethics of dealing in ancient art and whose members follow a strict code of ethics concerning the authenticity and provenance of the objects they sell.