Roman Aphrodite statue makes 56% increase on estimate

A Roman marble statue of Aphrodite has seen impressive bids at Sotheby's sale of the Duke of Northumberland's treasures, held on July 9 in London.

Roman aphrodite statue
The statue's head was previously thought to have been from a later work, but has been proved original by the existence of a twin

Coming as part of Old Masters Week, the piece led the sale at £9.3m ($16m), topping its £4m-6m estimate by 56.3%.

The statue dates to 430-420 BC, though its head was previously thought to be a later addition until a sister statue was discovered near Naples in 2005, proving its authenticity.

It was bought by the 1st Duke of Northumberland in 1773, and once stood in the Palazzo Cesi in Rome.

The clock is one of many elaborate designs produced for the Chinese market, though few made it to the court of the emperor

Also starring in the sale was a magnificent automaton swan clock, thought to have been produced under George III for China's Qianlong emperor (1711-1799).

Selling at £2.2m ($3.8m), and originally part of a pair, it was obtained from China by esteemed collector Gustav Loup and has since been housed in the collection of the renowned LeCoultre family.

Many similar clocks were produced for the Chinese market, though this is one of the finest, set with extremely fine guilloche panels.

Bringing the third highest bids of the sale was a plaque of six panels of Limoges enamel, representing scenes from book VIII of the Aeneid, which sold £1.5m ($2.5m).

Completed by an artisan known only as "Master of the Aeneid" circa 1530, the plaque represents the earliest instance of enamel on copper being used to depict secular scenes and is considered among the finest.

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