LONDON.- A stunning collection of Greek vases bought over many years by one of Australias most important collectors of ancient art Graham Geddes is to be sold at Bonhams next Antiquities Sale on 15 October in London. It is estimated that the Collection which comprises over 150 lots will sell for more than a £1m.
Perhaps the strangest item in the sale, certainly to modern eyes, is a Roman marble acroterion a carved head from a sarcophagus corner which is the spitting image of Elvis Presley. The likeness is so great that Graham Geddes, the collector himself calls the carving Elvis. Fans of the King of Rock n Roll, seeing this face from the distant past will be forgiven for thinking that their idol may well have lived a previous life in Rome! Looking at this face with its Elvis-like quiff, strong jaw and nose, one is inevitably led to the thought that the human face for all is diversity and subtlety has after all an ability to repeat itself, hence the shock of the doppelganger, in this case a Roman Elvis.
Chantelle Waddingham, Head of Antiquities at Bonhams, says: The Graham Geddes Collection represents an enduring passion for the classical past by Australias foremost collector and dealer. His love for antiquities was sparked in the early 1970s by the inspirational guidance of William Culican and Peter Connor, both lecturers of classical archaeology at the University of Melbourne.
The most important item in this collection is a vase by the famed painter of the `Berlin Dancing Girl, a vase of incredible quality and condition, which marks the transition of Greek vase painting from the Attic to the South Italian.
These vases offer a window into the world of the Ancient Greeks, not only their myths and legends but also their everyday lives. As John Boardman, author of The History of Greek Vases (London 2001) has said: they are as subtle and informative as the great works of Greek literature.
A large and important Apulian red-figure hydria vase circa 410-400 B.C standing just over 20 inches high is estimated to sell for £90,000 to £110,000.
Besides the breathtaking vases in the Geddes Collection there are also some beautiful examples of Roman marble reliefs including one of Diana the Huntress from the 2nd Century A.D. estimated to sell for £60,000 to 90,000 and a battle scene with warriors and Eros from the same period also estimated at £60,000 to 90,000.
Alongside the Geddes Collection Bonhams will be holding its regular Antiquities auction at 2.30pm on Wednesday 15 October.