Amarna period sandstone relief depicting Akhenaten, £90,000 at Apollo Art Auctions.

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Akhenaten is among the most compelling fully documented figures from the ancient world.

His tenure from c.1352-1336BC during the 18th Dynasty marked a seismic break from tradition. At the death of his powerful father Amenhotep III, he changed his name, moved the capital from Thebes to the new city of Akhetaten (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 and was succeeded by his son Tutankhamun.

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

The often ‘unflattering’ portrayals of Akhenaten with a sagging stomach and broad hips are glimpsed in an 8½ x 12in (21 x 31cm) fragment that depicts the crowned head of a queen (perhaps Nefertiti) in profile with the rays of the Aten behind her. The physiognomic features are elongated. This piece was part of the Prince Collection of antiquities, an aristocratic assemblage formed from the 1990s until 2014. Most pieces were acquired through leading European dealers with this piece bought from Galerie Cybele, Paris. It was estimated at £20,000-30,000 but sold at £90,000.

Against a guide of £12,000- 20,000, a second 8 x 7in (20 x 18cm) fragment from Prince collection sold at £36,000. The subject here was again a queen, facing right as she raises her right arm in a command.


Amarna period sandstone relief depicting a queen, £36,000 at Apollo Art Auctions.

From another source, a London collector, was a 16½ x 16in (42 x 41cm) relief depicting a high official seated in front of a balance as he presides here over the ‘weighing the gold of the tributes’.


Amarna period sandstone relief depicting Huya, a high official of Akhenaten, £76,000 at Apollo Art Auctions.

Although incomplete, it is possible to reconstruct his name as Huya, a high official of Akhenaten and steward of Queen Tiye, the pharaoh’s mother. He is depicted according to the new artistic canons: feminine breast, prominent belly, long and expressive face, thin arms with long hands and tapering fingers. The hammer price this time was £76,000 (estimate £12,000-20,000).