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Rock crystal was highly valued in the Roman world. Empress Livia, the wife of Augustus, is said to have dedicated a block weighing 150lbs on Rome’s Capitoline Hill, while, according to Pliny, a wealthy Roman woman paid 150,000 sestertii for a single rock crystal dipper.

TimeLine Auctions’ February 21-25 sale in London features this Roman rock crystal vessel, which would have held precious materials such as ground incense. In the shape of a hydria, the 5in (12.5cm) high piece is carved with a tiered foot and features integral loop handles to the shoulder and a strap handle with palmette detailing.

The silver-gilt lid and chain is a 17th or 18th century addition. The vessel comes from the property of a European collector and, before 1971, was with the ancient glass collector Gawain McKinley. Estimate £20,000-30,000.


In 1890, Sir Robert Lorimer (1864-1929) was commissioned to restore the 16th century tower house Earlshall, in Fife, by its owner, RWR Mackenzie. To complete the decorative scheme, he designed a series of embroideries that were worked on by Mackenzie’s wife Jessie and her friends in 1893.

A 5ft 10in x 5ft 1in (1.77 x 1.54m) crewelwork hanging panel from this group is included in Lyon & Turnbull’s auction of textiles belonging to Arts & Crafts dealer Paul Reeves, in Edinburgh on February 23. Depicting the Tree of Life in russet silk on natural linen, the hanging remained with the rest of the embroideries at Earlshall until the contents were sold in 1983. It is estimated at £18,000-22,000.


This small study of a quayside with fishing boats by Walter Frederick Osborne (1859-1903) features in Whyte’s Irish and International art sale in Dublin on February 27.

Typical of the many village and harbour scenes the artist painted, the 8 x 12in (20 x 30cm) oil on canvas laid on board was painted c.1898 when Osborne visited Greystones in Co Wicklow, a small fishing village south of Bray Head. Purchased by the present owner’s great-grandfather at the turn of the century, it is guided at €15,000-18,000.