LONDON.- Kallos Gallery
opened their winter exhibition, Splendour & Revival (27 November to 22 December 2017) which celebrates the enduring appeal and influence of the ancient world. Including an impressive collection of jewellery, as well as coins and sculpture, the exhibition includes ancient objects that inspired and enlightened travellers, collectors and antiquaries through the ages, from the Grand Tour period to today. Individual prices range from £1,500 to over £100,000.
A specific highlight of the exhibition is a selection of jewellery made from the 19th to the 21st centuries using ancient intaglios. Revival jewellery became very popular as travel and the Grand Tour gathered momentum during this period. The upper classes brought back many objects from abroad and were inspired by their new discoveries. By combining ancient gems and intaglios into modern jewellery they created accessible pieces and fuelled the fashion for channelling the past in contemporary designs.
Two important such pieces in the exhibition were formerly in the collection of Arthur Richard Wellesley, 2nd Duke of Wellington (1807-1884); an italic banded agate intaglio (circa 1st century BC) set in an antique gold ring and a Roman chromium chalcedony intaglio (circa 1st century AD) also set in an antique gold ring. Another leading jewellery highlight is a stunning gold necklace of Roman chromium chalcedony intaglios (circa 1st-2nd century AD) with alternating Mysore rubies. The setting of the gems and rubies reflects the archaeological revival style so popular at the time and also channels pieces by the famous 19th century Italian jewellery Castellani.
Many sculptures and works of art were also brought back by the Grand Tourists on their travels. The exhibition features a striking Lucanian red-figure bell krater attributed to the Amykos Painter (circa 420-400 BC) which was also formerly in the collection of Prince Johann II of Liechtenstein (1840-1929). Although little is known about the life of the Amykos Painter (active around 430-400BC), he was a prolific artist renowned for his red-figure pottery technique. His individual and independent style influenced numerous followers and examples of his work can be seen in notable collections including those of the British Museum and the Louvre.
The Grand Tour spirit continued through the ages and many modern figures assembled equally impressive collections. In the early 20th century, American husband and wife Dr. and Mrs Goddard Dubois frequently visited Egypt and acquired numerous important pieces of ancient jewellery, assembling one of the largest privately-owned collections which was later exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Formerly in their collection, the exhibition includes a beautiful Egyptian Amethyst necklace with gold poppy seed amulets (Middle Kingdom-New Kingdom, circa 19th 13th century BC) that they collected while travelling in Egypt in the first decade of the 20th century.
The Grand Tour period (circa 1660 to 1820) coincided with an age of learning and discovery. The Grand Tour was undertaken by young members of the nobility and the landed gentry who would travel through Europe learning about ancient civilisations and visiting great cities of the Renaissance. They would often bring back large numbers of paintings, sculptures and antiquities which were displayed with great pride on their return, creating a higher awareness of ancient art in British society at the time, and leaving a collecting legacy that endures to this day.