Lot 250. A Roman pale blue-green glass one-handled jug signed by Ennion, circa first half of the 1st century A.D. Estimate £450,000 – £550,000 ($598,500 - $731,500). Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2016
Blown in a four-part mould, three for the neck and upper body and a separate bowl-shaped mould for the lower body, the body with three registers, the first on shoulder and upper body with a continuous floral spray forming six circular frames filled with downturned palmettes with outward-curving leaves, alternating with six downturned palmettes with inward-curving leaves, around the middle of the body a frieze of net pattern, the tabula ansata on one side with two-lined Greek inscription reading ENNIWN/EΠOIEI, "Ennion made it", the lower body with a frieze of vertical tongues, the cylindrical neck with vertical tongues, rounded at both ends, with curving inward-folded rim, the two-ribbed handle attached to the shoulder, drawn up and turned in forming an arch above the rim, applied on and under the rim with a trail extending down onto the neck, the foot modern; 9 ½ in. (24 cm.) high
Provenance: British Rail Pension Fund collection.
Property from the Collection formed by the British Rail Pension Fund; Sotheby's, New York, 17 December 1998, lot 220.
Exhibited: The Corning Museum of Glass, New York, 1985-1995.
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Made by Ennion: Ancient Glass Treasures from the Shlomo Moussaieff Collection, May-December 2011.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Ennion: Master of Roman Glass, 9 December 2014-13 April 2015.
PUBLISHED: Y. Israeli, Made by Ennion: Ancient Glass Treasures from the Shlomo Moussaieff Collection, exhibition cat. (Israel Museum), Jerusalem, 2011, p. 20.
C. S. Lightfoot, Ennion: Master of Roman Glass, exhibition cat. (Metropolitan Museum of Art), New York, 2014, p. 80.
Notes: This is perhaps the most beautiful and elegant of Ennion’s vessels, with pleasing proportions and refined decoration, following the form of contemporary silver pieces. Only three more or less intact footed jugs are known, the most stunning of which is one made in a deep cobalt-blue glass, reputedly from the vicinity of Jerusalem, now in the Haaretz Museum, Tel Aviv (inv. no. MHG 1200.58; Lightfoot, 2014, pp. 78-9, no. 5). A light green fragmentary example distorted by fire was found during excavations in the Upper City of Jerusalem in the destruction level of 70 A.D. (Israel Antiquities Authority, on permanent exhibition in the Israel Museum, inv. no. 1982-1105; Lightfoot, 2014, pp. 82-3, no. 7); a fragmentary foot, probably from an Ennion jug, was also found during these excavations. Lastly, a brown glass jug without a foot was reputedly acquired from a collection near Naples by Ray Winfield Smith, and is now in The Corning Museum of Glass (inv. no. 59.1.76; Harden, 1987, p. 166. no. 87; Lightfoot, 2014, pp. 76-7, no. 4). As is the case with the present lot, the Corning example has a restored foot based on the blue jug from Jerusalem.
The present lot is unique in that the tabula ansata bearing Ennion’s signature is placed below the lower handle attachment; on the three other examples listed above, the tabula ansata is positioned on the front of the vessels.
Christie's. ANCIENT GLASS FROM THE SHLOMO MOUSSAIEFF COLLECTION, 6 July 2016, London, King Street