Monday, 21 March 2022

A Nolan amphora from the Becchina archive

Nolan amphora from the Becchina archive.
Image source: Christos Tsirogiannis.

In 1988 an Attic red-figured Nolan amphora, showing on one side a woman with a phiale with a bearded man holding a sceptre, surfaced at Sotheby's New York (June 15, 1988, lot 79). It features in the Beazley Archive Pottery Database without attribution or even full details of the sale, though it suggests it passed through London rather than New York (BAPD 50027): a label is attached to one of the handles, presumably giving details of the lot. The Nolan amphora is now due to be auctioned at Christie's on April 12, 2022 (lot 76) as the property of an anonymous Pennsylvania Private Collector. It is now attributed to 'near the Sabouroff painter' and the estimate is placed at $15,000-$20,000.

Christos Tsirogiannis has spotted that this same Nolan amphora appears to feature in the Becchina archive. Notice the damage to the rim (now restored without comment in the lot notes) and the retouching of the black gloss. 

Who originally consigned the amphora to Sotheby's? What part did Becchina play? What is the authenticated documentation for this amphora that allows its full history to be traced?

Will Christie's be contacting the Italian authorities to check the background to this piece?

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1 comment:

David Gill said...

The photographs in the Beazley Archive were taken by Sir John Boardman in July 1983. The amphora appears to be lot 531 in the Sotheby's (London) sale of 12 July 1983.

I am grateful to Professor Peter Stewart for this information.

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