08 October 2011

The Negroponte Hoard, Part Two

Some of the "Negroponte hoard," now in the British Museum.

Go here for more on this treasure.
* * * * *
I recently presented a couple of items from the "Negroponte hoard" -- it is neither a hoard nor all from Negroponte -- and thought it might be a pleasure to look at more of the individual items.    The British Museum lists 389 items, mostly multiples of buttons, in this collection which was a bequest to the museum in 1897 by Sir Augustus Wollaston Franks, Director of the museum.  His total bequest consisted of more than 6000 items, and such a private collection in the possession of a museum director would now be considered highly questionable.  I do not know about the financing of the BM in 1897 -- perhaps a reader does -- and this may have been its primary means of acquisition.  But it leaves a bad taste.  The Dalton catalog of the holdings says that the items were acquired "in the first half of the nineteenth century" but provides no more information about the acquisition.

(These pictures should all enlarge when clicked on.)

First, BELT ORNAMENTS.  You can see similar belts in 15th C Byzantine and Italian portraits.  These are all Italian, and I would prefer Venice for the first two.

Note that the item to the lower left has a Malatesta shield,
with initials L and B: the third Malatesta shield  in this collection.

BUTTONS.  Byzantines had massive assemblages of buttons on their formal garments -- forty or so at times -- and every single button gets its own catalog listing.  These are the ones I like best.  Most of them are not as charming.



The number 1821 is the ring's original catalog number.
The number now is AF-1860.  It is an extremely large ring,
a thumb ring, or for a man.

The "hoard" included an elegant silver bowl:

And an ancient Greek cup.

Go here to look up items from this collection at the British Museum under the term "Halkida" or "Halkida gold".

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