Monday, 29 November 2021

A Sardinian boat-shaped lamp from an "old Austrian collection"

Sardinian boat-shaped lamp. 
Left: Bonhams.
Right: Becchina archive (courtesy of Christos Tsirogiannis)
The sale of antiquities at Bonhams (7 December 2021) includes a copper alloy Sardinian boat-shaped lamp (lot 83). It has an estimate of £2,000-£3,000.

The history of the piece (or as some would continue to say, the "provenance") is stated as:
Private collection, Austria, acquired in the 1960s in Vienna.
But how can this be? The same lamp appears to have passed through the hands of Palladion Antike Kunst in 1993 and appears in the Becchina archive (with date 12-2-93). Incidentally the lamp sold for SFr 60,000. 

Who supplied the history of the piece to Bonhams? What sort of due diligence did Bonhams conduct as part of the cataloguing process? How reliable is the information that the lamp formed part of an old Austrian collection? 

Will Bonhams be contacting the Italian authorities about the lamp and its appearance in the Becchina archive?

I am grateful to Associate Professor Christos Tsirogiannis for making the identification from the Becchina archive, and for providing information on this lamp.


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