Frieze Masters 2017

Online catalog of our exhibits at Frieze Masters
on 5-8 October this year

Lapis lazuli cup

The convex wall of this magnificent cup is carved in relief with two busts between crosses with flaring arms.  The figures, one bearded, the other beardless, are both nimbed and shown in officers’ regalia.

As to their identity, in the absence of inscriptions we cannot be absolutely certain, but they conform to the iconographic types associated with the famous military saints Theodore (bearded) and George (beardless).  A laurel wreath, or ‘glory’ forms the footring which encloses a cross formed by four juxtaposed heart motifs. 

Lapis lazuli, the material from which this cup was fashioned, was one of the most precious and sought-after hardstones in antiquity and the medieval world.  The light parallel veining of the lapis and the presence of tiny gold flecks testify to its source being the fabled ancient mines of Afghanistan.

East Roman Empire, probably Constantinople

Height: 5.1 cm
Diameter: 6.2 cm at rim

Private Collection TA, U.K., by inheritance from her father (d. 1968-9)
Private Collection TG, London, 2010
Acquired by AXIA 2017

ALR Search report No. S00125977



Samanid Sari-type Nishapur slip-painted pottery bowl with central "knotted" medallionn

The "knot" consisting of two interlocking oval links, each consisting of a broad band of Kufic inscription edged with a row of pearls. 

Diameter: 14 cm

London Trade (D. Aaron)



Abbasid blue and white tin-glazed pottery bowl

Decorated in cobalt blue on a white ground with two lines of kufic inscription across the centre. Manijeh Bayani tentatively read the inscription: "His (God's) servant" repeated twice. 


Diameter: 20 cm

Yacob's Gallery, 15/09/1999, via R. Ghavami

Exhibited / Published
Blue & White pottery from the age of Harun al-Rashid, at Axia 17 Nov. to 10 Dec. 1999, no. 5.



A deep conical pottery bowl

On a high cylindrical foot, the slip-painted white interior is decorated with a central cursive inscription in cobalt blue which reads, "May Glory be everlasting", around the rim, a meandering turquoise band. Repaired breaks; areas of light silvery iridescence.

Syria, Raqqa

Height: 11.2 cm
Diameter: 23.7 cm

Nicolier, Paris, 1960; ex-Coll. Theodor Sehmer (1885-1979)
Christie's, London, 27/04/2004, lot 304
Acquired there by AXIA


Cast silver plaque with a half-length figure of Christ in high relief

A fragment from what was once a larger object, perhaps a chalice, this cast and parcel-gilt image of Christ Pantokrator is one of the very earliest representations of the iconographic formula for the representation of the Saviour which eventually became the norm in Byzantine art.

Constantinople or Eastern Mediterranean

Height: 7.50 cm
Width: 4.60 cm
Weight: 14.46 g

Private collection, UK


Oval medallion with the half-length figure of a martyr saint

Carved in cameo in high relief, the material of this plaque is fossilised or calcified hardwood, probably ebony.  The coiffure of the saint is executed as a series of core-drilled roundels a feature characteristic of early Christian art.  The same technique is used to model the coiffures of the two military saints on the lapis lazuli cup (R005116)

Constantinople or Eastern Mediterranean

Height: 4.50 cm
Width: 3.50 cm

Haddad Brothers (importation document dated Jan 2001)


A pair of parcel gilt silver bracelets with coloured glass inlays 

Each with a broad, flat wrist band with three openwork roundels contained within panels formed by a cable-work border.  Hinges at both ends attach the curved wristband to a rectangular front panel.  Of tray form, this panel is lightly engraved with a large gilded pattée cross and embellished with yellow glass inlays contained within silver cloisons; an oval one at the centre with four tear-shaped ones at the corners; between them smaller ones in red glass.  Note the similarity in the shape of the cross with the one on the spoon R005057

Eastern Mediterranean

Size / Dimensions
Front panel: 5 x 4 cm.  Width: 6 cm. Weight:  69.72 g

Private collection, UK



Parcel gilt hanging oil lamp with suspension chains

In the shape of a waisted cup on a trumpet-shaped high foot thie lamp is worked in repoussé and partially gilded.  In size and decoration this lamp is practically identical to a piece in a private collection suggesting the two were once a pair (see: Spier, J., Treasures of the Ferrell Collection, Wiesbaden, 2010, p.278, cat.198)

Constantinople or Eastern Mediterranean 

Height: 11 cm (lamp); 32.9 cm (incl. susp. Chains)
Weight: 102 g

Haddad Brothers (importation document dated Jan 1992)