Lot 51

A GREEK SPECULUM INTAGLIO FOR BERENIKE II Ptolemaic Period, Circa 246 – 221 B.C. The flat oval disc is delicately engraved with a female bust in right profile, identifiable asqueen Berenike II (246-221 BC) by her distinctive hairstyle and full features, she is depicted wearing a chiton and himation that has slipped from her shoulder, her chin raised slightly upwards, with full cheeks and wide open eyes, her hair dressed in a so-called ‘meloncoiffure’ with horizontal plaits tied at the back of her head in a chignon. Traces of gilding on hair and drapery, 2.8 x 2.3cm, Literature: A very close parallel for the portrait can be found on the obverse of a series of bronze coins struck in Syria under Ptolemy III with the inscription BE?ENIKH? BA?I?I??H? (‘Queen Berenike’); compare I. N. Svoronos, Ta nomismata tou kratous ton Ptolemaion, Athens, 1904-1908, no. 1056. See also a garnet intaglio of Berenike signed by the artist Nikandros now in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore (inv. no. 42.1339), which shows the straps of the queen’s chiton and the edge of her himation in the same way as the present example.  Provenance: Private collection of P.M. Walker, U.K.

Estimate: £400-£600