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A pair of Italian Neoclassical patinated bronze lions on Siena and black marble bases, late 18th/early 19th century, height 8 1/4in (21cm); length 11in (28cm); width 5 1/2in (14cm). Estimate US$ 4,000 – 7,000. Photo Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.– “The Allure of Antiquity: The Bikoff Collection” is a curated section of souvenirs from the Grand Tour that will highlight the Fine Furniture, Silver, Decorative Arts & Clocks auction at Bonhams New York on March 4.

The Grand Tour was an essential part of the young Englishman’s education, typically taking place between the end of his formal education and the beginning of his adult life. It was also considered a rite of passage for artists. The tour generally lasted between two and three years with long stays in Paris, Rome, Naples and Venice. From their travels they brought with them a repository of knowledge of history and culture, as well as a fantastic collection of souvenirs.

Dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, the approximately 100 lot-section presents items from the esteemed collection of Kathleen and David Bikoff that ranges from marble columns, to bronze sculptures, to botanical and zoological watercolors. Highlights from this section include:


An important French Neoclassical style repousse metal reduction of the Vendôme column, mid-19th century. The metallic structure stands tall at 5 feet and 2 inches and is expected to fetch between $15,000 and $20,000. Photo Bonhams.

Similar columns have been in the collections of Carlos de Besteigui and Bill Blass.


An 18th-19th century Italian Neoclassical style patinated bronze sculpture of Marcus Aurelius on a white marble base that is estimated to fetch between $8,000 and $12,000. Photo Bonhams.

The original statue of Marcus Aurelius was erected circa 175 AD/CE, and is the only complete bronze statue of a pre-Christian Roman emperor to have survived. Such statues were usually melted down for their bronze or destroyed by early Christians; this one was not because it was erroneously believed to depict Constantine, the first Christian emperor. The base was designed by Michelangelo when it was relocated to the Capitoline Hill in 1538.

Casts of this model have been recorded by the Roman bronze foundry of Giacomo and Giovanni Zoffoli (1738-1795) and (1745-1805), as well as that of Francesco Righetti (1738-1819).


A pair of Blue John and marble columns, early 19th century ($5,000 – 8,000). Photo Bonhams.

What makes these columns particularly significant is the presence of Blue John stone that is very rare, found only in Derbyshire, England, and which has historically been extremely sought after.


A pair of Louis-Philippe gilt and patinated bronze Medici vases on tall Siena marble bases, created circa mid-19th century (est. $5,000 – 8,000). Photo Bonhams.

The vases are of substantial height, standing at a little over 15 inches.

Karl Green, Director of Furniture & Decorative Arts at Bonhams says, “What makes this collection exceptional is the attention the Bikoffs paid to the aesthetic value of the types of marble selected, some of them quite rare, as well as the number of Grand Tour items of such fine quality. They traveled the world in search of these objects and enjoyed them for decades, refusing all offers of purchase. It is only now that they have somewhat reluctantly decided to let these precious items go.”