Bringing together works ranging from Egyptian and Roman antiquities to fine decorative arts and furnishings from the Middle East, India, Turkey, and Europe, Freeman's annual International Sale is rooted in a tradition of scholarly collecting best exemplified by the cabinets of curiosities, or Kunstkammer, of Renaissance Europe.
"The Kunstkammer was regarded as a microcosm or theater of the world, and a memory theater..."
- Francesaco Fiorani
These diverse collections included works of art, antiquities, religious relics, cultural artifacts, and specimens from the natural world. Assembled both to demonstrate their owner’s sophistication and satisfy intellectual curiosity, such cabinets became the foundation for Enlightenment institutions including the Ashmolean and British Museums. The discovery of new lands through trade and colonial expansion, uncovering of antiquities and archaeological sites and formation of antiquarian groups like the Society of Dilettanti continued to drive the fashion for collecting and studying objects representative of civilizations past and present. Freeman’s International Sale continues this spirit of intellectual curiosity, bringing together a diverse group of art that is sure to capture the interest of today’s erudite and eclectic collector.
A brightly lacquered Qajar Qu’ran, unusual Tibetan ‘kapala’ skull libation cup, selection of Coptic textile fragments and variety of Russian enameled icons are all lots that speak to a collector interest in gaining a material understanding of distinct cultural practices and religious beliefs. Arms and armor including a Malay kris, 16th century German landsknecht broadsword and an Indo-Persian Steel Kulah-Khud helmet show the breadth and diversity of materials developed for combat and defense by different peoples. While Egyptian shabti figures, Greco-Roman pottery vessels, and a Wedgwood copy of the Portland vase stand as testament to the impact of archaeological discoveries and antiquarian studies on both the practice of collecting and the development of artistic understanding through revival movements such as Neoclassicism, Greek revival and the nineteenth century phenomenon of “Egyptomania”.
Freeman's will hold its annual International Sale on 28 January 2015. The catalogue for this sale is now availble to view online.