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Apollo Art Auctions Presents: The Prince Collection

We are delighted to announce that Apollo Art Auctions has been entrusted with a portion of the extensive Prince Collection, one of the finest and most developed assemblages of antiquities in the world. These stunning items will be presented to the public in our upcoming January Auction.


The Prince Collection features works of art that range in date and culture, encompassing almost the entire scope of antiquity and including items from the Neolithic, Egyptian, Hittite, Greco-Roman, and Near Eastern worlds.


Many of these items have passed through the hands of some of the finest antiquities collectors of the 19th and 20th Centuries. A selection of Egyptian faience and engraved fragments carry a particularly illustrious provenance. They once featured in the collection of Revd William MacGregor (1848–1937), the Vicar of Tamworth from 1878–1887. Macgregor was a famous Egyptophile who came to the country in the early 1880s due to his poor health, falling in love with Egyptian culture and art in the process. An early participant in the Egyptomania that accelerated with the discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922, MacGregor loaned his collection as part of an exhibition at the Burlington Fine Arts Club in London in 1895. This was the first temporary exhibition in England that sought to display Egyptian antiquities as artworks, demonstrating the beauty and desirability of these objects to the London elite. MacGregor sold his collection to Spink and Son in late 1921, who then put his items up for auction with Sotheby Wilkinson and Hodge (Sotheby’s).


These same items were then purchased by Joseph Altounian (1890-1954), one of the most renowned dealers of the 20th Century. Born in Armenia, Altounian moved to Paris and opened his gallery in 1906, later known as Altounian-Lorbet. The business specialised in Egyptian and Greek art, along with decorative and medieval works, and Altounian became one of the most prolific dealers of art in France, with works selling to major museums in the USA and Europe. He was a good friend of the Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani and boasted many other high-profile associates such as Pablo Picasso and Guillaume Apollinare.


In addition to these works, two Egyptian faience rosette inlays from the 19th Dynasty were previously part of the collection of Dr. Daniel Marie Fouquet (1850-1921), a French doctor living in Cairo, whose extensive collection of antiquities was dispersed after his death via an auction in 1922 at the Hotel Drouot. Eighteen of such items can now be found in the British Museum, with many more sold at major auction houses. Fouquet was keenly interested in Egyptian culture, even writing an article on Egyptian tattooing practices in 1898. He features prominently in this painting by French artist Paul Dominique Philippoteaux, lecturing a crowd whilst the mummified body of a “Priestess”, known as Ta-usa-ra, is unveiled.


Oil painting of a mummy being unveiled
Figure 1. "Examination of a Mummy - The Priestess of Ammon". 1891. Oil on Canvas, by Paul Dominique Phillipoteaux. Photo Credit: Peter Nahum at The Leicester Gallery, London.


Secure your place in this distinguished line of collectors by registering for our January auction, “Fine Ancient Art and Antiquities”. The auction will commence at 12 pm GMT on the 28th of January, with availability to bid online and in person. The items from The Prince Collection will be included in the sale. Be sure to mark your calendars and join us for this historic display of art and culture.

Written by Ella Wakefield


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