A haunting Roman mask, deemed the near pair to the famed Crosby Garrett parade helmet, comes up for sale next month.
The copper-alloy mask depicting an Amazonian warrior or goddess dating from the late 2nd or early 3rd century AD will be offered by TimeLine in Mayfair on September 3, with an estimate of £80,000- 100,000.
The 10in (26cm) mask with its finely chased tutulus hairstyle, diadems and garlands has distinct artistic parallels to the near-complete helmet found by a father-and-son team of metal detectorists in May 2010 and later sold at Christie’s for £1.9m plus premium.
The restorer who worked the mask believes they were made by the same workshop, perhaps even the same craftsman.
Celebrating the cult of the mater castrorum (mother of the camp), they were probably used during military parades and in sporting combat.
The mask is the property of a London vendor and has been through several British collections and dealers since it was first purchased in York in the 1970s. Unlike the Crosby Garrett helmet, named after the hamlet in the Eden Valley close to where it was dug, the find site is unknown although it is believed it was also unearthed in northern England.
“The restorer believes they were made by the same workshop
Although possibly buried with the other parts of the helmet, only the removable mask survives.
It is around 95% complete, according to TimeLine CEO Aaron Hammond, and has been reassembled from four pieces with some small areas of resin infill.
It will be sold together with an Art Loss Register certificate and a metallurgic analytical report.
The mask features among more than 4000 antiquities lots to be offered by Timeline across seven days (the latter six days in Harwich).
It was the discovery of the Crosby Garrett helmet and its subsequent sale to a private buyer that was the catalyst to a widening of the 1996 Treasure Act and specifically a change to the definition of what is legally classed as treasure in the UK.
Though one of the most impressive Roman artefacts ever found on British soil, as it was base rather than precious metal it could be offered for sale on the open market.
The Tullie House Museum and Art gallery in Carlisle tried to buy the Crosby Garrett helmet in 2010, having raised public funds from local people, but was outbid by a private buyer. The new owner has, however, loaned out the helmet on a number of occasions including to the British Museum in 2014. The helmet first went on display at Tullie House in 2013 and returned in 2017.