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The show runs from June 9 to July 9 with 113 pieces ranging in date from 3500 BC to the first century AD and in price from £400 for a Ptolemaic limestone relief of a bird of prey to more than £100,000 for a Late Dynastic Period, hollow-cast bronze of a seated cat. This, the archetypal image of Egyptian animal art, is a beast which crops up in a number of guises in the show.

This is the first ever selling exhibition on this theme, the only previous exhibition of Egyptian animals being An Egyptian Bestiary at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1995.

Birds and animals played a major role in the life of Ancient Egyptians, who believed the unseen powers and forces in this world could be made manifest by the character and behaviour of the living creatures around them. Their deities often took the form of animals while, if not the earthly manifestations of gods, other creatures may have had symbolic significance or appear only as hieroglyphic signs in the written language.

The seated cat is the most potent and best known image of ancient Egyptian culture. The female cat was associated with the ancient goddess Bastet, worshipped in the Nile Delta and a cult which enjoyed great prestige in the late Dynastic Period (post-600 BC). Cat lovers are well catered for in the exhibition but birds also played a big role, the ibis, for example, being the sacred bird of Thoth, the god of learning and wisdom and so particularly sacred to scribes.

The exhibition contains a bronze ibis dating from the 26th Dynasty, c.600 BC, once in the Dr. Ludwig Burchard Collection in Paris in the 1940s.

Small ducks, quail chicks, barn owls, falcons and vultures complete the aviary, while from the wild come crocodiles, revered for their fearsome nature; hippos, admired for their awesome strength, and baboons, who were held to be creatures of both the sun and lunar gods.

In contrast, domestic and grazing animals also had their place, the oldest piece in the whole show being a rare, hard green stone pig of c.4000-3500BC. The exhibition is accompanied by a scholarly and well-illustrated catalogue with an introduction by Dr Carol Andrews, a published expert in ancient art and formerly Keeper of Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum.

Dr Andrews says: "It would be almost impossible to assemble examples of every living creature which played a role in Egyptian religious beliefs and culture and to illustrate every nuance or permutation of that role.

"But this collection is sufficiently wide ranging in date, material and subject to provide a fascinating insight into many of those aspects, and not only the mainstream ones but also some which are rather more unusual."

Rupert Wace is taking this year off from Grosvenor House to concentrate on this exhibition as his contribution to London Sculpture Week. He is also busily preparing to move next door in September to a more spacious gallery at 15 Old Bond Street, soon to be vacated by John Eskenazi.