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Tile Pair from eBay

Post  Erodius on Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:29 pm

I recently won a bidding on this pair of framed tiles on eBay. The list price was $75, but I was the only bidder, and won them for considerably less than that — I wound up paying more for shipping than I paid for the items.

According to the seller, they came from an estate sale in Florida, and appear rather old, due to the glue's having oxidized around the edges where they were mounted into the wood frames.

Looking closer after they arrived, I noticed some of the white glaze that had broken off revealing that they are actually painted on terra-cotta, then glazed over with white and the colors for the images. They're inscribed in Greek, and thus probably originate there. The Apollo has an unidentifiable seal or artist's mark in the right bottom corner. They're about 4"x12", and are very heavy.


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-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
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Re: Tile Pair from eBay

Post  Callisto on Mon Jun 10, 2013 12:13 pm

Truly a wonderful find! With a bit of searching, eBay is still a treasure trove of hidden gems. I've found a few over the years.

If interested, it might be possible to research the artist's signature. S/He might be established and known for similar pieces. Are there any markings on the backs?

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Re: Tile Pair from eBay

Post  Erodius on Mon Jun 10, 2013 12:55 pm

Callisto wrote:Are there any markings on the backs?

Unfortunately, no. The backs are just plaster and have no markings at all — no tags or stickers, no inscriptions, no nothing.

All I have to go on is the mark on the Apollo — I've tried looking through several large databases of pottery makers marks, and have not been able to identify it.

Perhaps I'll take it to an antique dealer and see if they are able to identify it.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Tile Pair from eBay

Post  Callisto on Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:23 pm

That's a difficulty when something comes from an estate sale. Often the seller is someone who bought the lot and has no info on the history - were they made by the original owner, bought locally, bought while travelling etc.

Regardless, still a nice find.

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Re: Tile Pair from eBay

Post  J_Agathokles on Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:08 am

Erodius, don't forget that, depending on how old they are exactly, they may also come from Siciliote or Italiote Hellenic-speakers. Or maybe even people originally from Asian communities of Hellenes.

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Re: Tile Pair from eBay

Post  Erodius on Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:27 am

It's possible, but I imagine unlikely. They are certainly not new, but I doubt very much they are older than 19th-20th century.

Due to the vivid colors used, uncharacterstic of otherwise black/red-figure style images, and the Greek script inscriptions, I would imagine they were souvenirs from a trip to Greece, probably from a tile/pottery maker rather than a reproductions studio geared toward tourists.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Tile Pair from eBay

Post  Callisto on Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:48 pm

J_Agathokles wrote:Erodius, don't forget that, depending on how old they are exactly, they may also come from Siciliote or Italiote Hellenic-speakers. Or maybe even people originally from Asian communities of Hellenes.

Though the origins can be surprising and unexpected. I have a hand-carved plaque of Dionysus that came from the sale of a liquor store in the mid-West (US) which I found was crafted in a village in former Yugoslavia. So you never know!


Erodius wrote:Due to the vivid colors used, uncharacterstic of otherwise black/red-figure style images, and the Greek script inscriptions, I would imagine they were souvenirs from a trip to Greece, probably from a tile/pottery maker rather than a reproductions studio geared toward tourists.

If you're so inclined, does your university have an Art History Departement? One of the professors might discern some detail about them.

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Re: Tile Pair from eBay

Post  Erodius on Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:22 pm

Callisto wrote:If you're so inclined, does your university have an Art History Departement? One of the professors might discern some detail about them.

Of course; that's an excellent idea.

I'm simply very curious. I have never seen anything even resembling these images before. They are clearly inspired in many ways by the artistic style of archaic pottery, but the specific images themselves I am fairly certain are the original work of the artist.

I would like to know something of their provenance and age beyond that they are 'probably old' and 'from a Florida estate sale'. Suspect

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Tile Pair from eBay

Post  Linda on Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:11 pm

They're beautiful, and there are art forums with a lot of really knowledgeable people frequenting, and where you can post your pic and ask and perhaps there's someone who knows something more. I don't know any of them on top of my head and since I'm not on my regular 'putor I cannot bring out a link, but do a google! Or try a art dealer's or a museum site, perhaps in Athens. Good luck!

Finally, even if you don't learn their full history they are yours to enjoy - lucky you!
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