Group of 77 Old Kingdom blue glazed composition Djoser temple tiles, £55,000 at Apollo Art Auctions.

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The sale of Fine Ancient Art & Antiquities at Apollo Art Auctions (20% buyer’s premium) in London on January 28 was led by a private group of more than 150 pieces of Neolithic, Egyptian, Hittite, Greco-Roman and Near Eastern art.

Formed from the 1990s through 2014, most pieces in the Prince Collection were acquired through leading European dealers.

A large selection of Egyptian faience fragments and inlays were led by a group of 77 Old Kingdom small blue-glazed composition tiles presented together in a 2ft 1in x 17in (62 x 43cm) frame.

Dating from the 3rd Dynasty (c.2630-2611BC), this form of faience tile-decoration is thought to have been invented by Imhotep, the renowned architect of king Djoser, to cover some of the interior walls of the Step Pyramid and the so-called South Tomb in the Saqqara necropolis.

With a 1970s provenance, they were estimated at £12,000-20,000 and sold at £55,000.


Two large Egyptian New Kingdom faience foundation tiles carrying the prenomen and nomen of Rameses II, £24,000 at Apollo Art Auctions.

Two large 19th Dynasty New Kingdom foundation tiles were believed to have come from the Pi-Ramesses palace in Qantir. Each decorated in black with an inscribed cartouche, one carries the prenomen, the other the nomen of Rameses the Great (c.1303-1213BC). Similar to examples at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the tiles were part of a Belgian private collection prior to joining the Prince group.

Again estimated at £12,000-20,000, the pair sold at £24,000.

Victorian collection

Several sherds on offer were those collected by the Victorian Egyptologist Rev William MacGregor (1848-1937). His collection, which formed part of an exhibition at the Burlington Fine Arts Club in 1895, was later dispersed with these pieces sold through the Parisian works of art dealer Joseph Altounian (1890-1954).


New Kingdom yellow faience frieze inlay fragment, £4400 at Apollo Art Auctions.

Sold at £4400 was a Ramesside (19th and 20th Dynasty) inlay fragment of yellow faience. Measuring 2½ x 2in (6.5 x 5cm) and inlaid with two rosettes and a bunch of grapes, it was once part of a larger frieze similar to that found in Helipolis and now on display in the Museo Egizio in Turin.

A series of ancient Egyptian sculptural fragments also sold within or above hopes as part of the Prince collection.


Late Period, 26th Dynasty (c. 590-570 BC) greywacke fragment of a figure in a kneeling position, £22,000 at Apollo Art Auctions.

A Late Period, 26th Dynasty (c.590-570BC) greywacke fragment of a figure in a kneeling position holding a naos shrine in his lap had been acquired from the dealer Lydia Bertens in 2010 and was previously in a Belgian private collection. Originally either a theorophorus or a naophorous statue, it measured 10 x 8in (25 x 21cm). Guided at up to £15,000, it took £22,000.


Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty (c.1859-1813BC) calcite lower leg fragment, £18,000 at Apollo Art Auctions.

Measuring 12 x 7in (30 x 18cm), a Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty (c.1859-1813BC) lower leg fragment came from a once large calcite statue of a striding Pharaonic figure. Similar to the style and curvature of statues of Amenemhat III, it was acquired from Swiss dealership Sycomore Ancient Art in 2007 and was formerly in a Brussels collection. It took £18,000.


Fragmentary ushabti made for Amenhotep III, £17,000 at Apollo Art Auctions.

A serpentine torso from a royal shabti made for the tomb of the powerful 18th Dynasty ruler Amenhotep III was sold at £17,000.

Although no longer complete, the figure is inscribed with six rows of hieroglyphs – Chapter 6 from the Book of the Dead – and the role it will serve in the afterlife. The tomb of Amenhotep III was originally found during Napoleon’s expedition in 1799 and subsequently rediscovered in 1898 and excavated in 1905-14.

This figure, similar to others in many museum collections, had been acquired in 2003 from Aaron Gallery, London.

Break from tradition

The death of Amenhotep III marked an important break from tradition. As the pharaoh who introduced a radical religious and artistic reformation his successor, Akhenaten is among the most compelling fully documented figures from the ancient world.

During his 17-year reign from c.1352-1336BC during the 18th Dynasty he changed his name from Amentohep IV, moved the capital from Thebes to the new city of Akhenaten (modern-day Tel el-Amarna) and substituted the traditional polytheism for a new monotheistic cult centred around the deified sun disc, Aten. He ruled with his wife Queen Nefertiti.

The styles that flourished under Akhenaten, known as Amarna art, are unique in the history of Egyptian royal art. Representations are more expressionistic, exaggerated and stylised.


Sandstone bracelet fragment froorm a once colossal statue of Akhenaten, c.1352-1336BC, £11,000 at Apollo Art Auctions.

A glimpse of this is seen through a 7 x 6in (17 x 14cm) sandstone bracelet from a once colossal statue. It had Akhenaten’s double cartouches dedicated to the Aten. This fragment, sold at £11,000 was acquired from Glenn Howard Ancient Art with an earlier provenance to an Egyptology collection formed in Sydney, Australia, shortly after the Second World War.

Under Akhenaten’s successor, the boy king Tutankhamun led by the vizier Ay, Egypt gradually returned to its traditional polytheistic religion with Thebes once more the base of royal power.