The 70s have a lot to answer for

There’s avocado kitchen appliances, shag carpeting over hardwood floors, double-knit polyester leisure suits, my dad’s sideburns and now we can add drilling holes into a 1st century A.D. marble Roman funerary urn, putting a red shade on top and using it as a skeezy lamp to the list of grievances.

The urn was first acquired in the 1950s by scientist and bombmaker Sir Sydney Barratt. When he died in 1975, he left it along with his and his own father’s antiques and collectibles to his schoolteacher son, John Barratt. It was he, apparently, who had the brilliant idea of drilling two holes into the lid and base, threading a cable through them, putting a metal bracket with a lightbulb socket on top then dressing it all up with a tragic red lampshade (sadly not pictured anywhere; I looked).

John Barratt died last year and his niece put the whole estate, 30-acre Crowe Hall, near Bath, and more than 300 antiques collected over three generations up for sale. Christie’s staff identified the lamp base as an elaborate 1st century Roman urn used for holding the ashes of someone who had probably been a wealthy and important person in life. From description of the auction lot:

Roman funerary urn, 1st cent. AD, tortured in the 1970sWith decoration carved in shallow relief, the shoulder with garlanded bull’s heads, the body in two registers separated by a beaded relief border, the upper with floral motifs and fruit laden trays flanked by birds with outstretched wings the lower with radiating tongues, with twin handles in the form of bearded satyr heads, with fluting on the lid and foot, mounted as a lamp stand, restorations[.]

Because of the atrocious lamp conversion and the restorations, experts estimated its sale value at an extremely low £7,000 – £10,000 ($11,000 – $15,000). Its beautiful carving, completeness and the comparative invisibility of the damage, however drove bidders to far exceed that modest estimate.

A number of phone bidders pursued the urn before it became a contest between one of them and a European dealer in the room who successfully bid 370,000 pounds for it.

With the auctioneers’ fees added on the overall price paid was more than 445,000 pounds.

That’s $692,809, 10 times the low valuation.

6 thoughts on “The 70s have a lot to answer for

  1. SS34 Study Guide for FINAL EXAM
    Prepare for the final exam with the following methods:
    1. Go to each unit introduction page and make sure you understand each main idea and key term. Be able to explain each main idea without the aid of notes, and provide a definition for each key term in your own words.
    2. Review the unit worksheets.
    3. Use the review games for each unit.
    4. The study topics below may also help you prepare for the final exam. This final exam study guide does NOT have to be submitted for a grade.
    These questions are designed to give you a good overview of the material on the test. However, the topics may not be in the same order as you will see on the test. Some topics are grouped together in different ways. You may see a topic more than once. Remember, the goal of this guide is to prepare you for the final by giving you a good overview of ALL topics from the course. Good Luck!
    1. Describe the significance of the Paleo-Indians, Mound Builders, and Southwest Civilizations.

    2. Know the reciprocal impact of European contact with Native Americans: disease, religion, food, economy.
    3. Explain the impact of the Iroquois Confederacy on early American government.
    Gave idea
    4. What is matriarchal leadership?
    Female dominated.
    5. Why were early American industries located near water?
    Because they used the water to harvest energy.
    6. Identify the significance of exploration: Columbus, Marquette, Hudson.
    7. Describe four reasons for colonization in America.
    8. What is the difference between slaves and indentured servants?
    Indentured servants worked for a contracted amount of time and were in general treaded well.
    9. Compare the New England, Middle and Southern colonies: economics, geography, society.
    10. Describe the period in history known as “The Enlightenment” and how it influenced the ideas of the American colonists.
    11. Explain how the French and Indian War led to the American colonists’ feelings of unfair taxation by the king. Give at least 3 examples of taxes or acts that finally led to a popular “rallying cry” phrase against British policies. Finally, write out that phrase.
    12. Define the following methods of protest by the American colonists. Be sure to include why, when, and where they were used. Finally, state which one was the most effective.
    • “No Taxation without Representation”
    • Boston Tea Party
    • Boycott
    • pamphlets
    • political cartoons
    • Sons of Liberty
    13. Describe actions by Parliament that led to American support for independence:
    • Sugar Act
    • Stamp Act
    • Boston Massacre
    • Boston Tea Party
    14. What is the significance of Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense?”
    15. Describe the Articles of Confederation as a plan of federal government and our first Constitution. When did they take effect? What was the focus? What were their major weaknesses?
    16. What was the Constitutional Convention? Where did it take place? When did it take place? Who was there? Who (of note) was NOT there?
    17. Describe the Constitution as a plan of federal government. When did it take effect? What was the focus? Who presided over it? What were the major criticisms against it? What were the major arguments for it? What were the major compromises? How many states were needed to ratify it?
    18. Explain the significance of the following battles and give dates:
    • Antietam
    • Battle of Gettysburg
    • Battle of Little Big Horn
    • Bunker and Breed’s Hill
    • First Manassas (Bull Run)
    • Fort Sumter
    • Fredericksburg
    • Lexington and Concord
    • Shiloh
    • Yorktown
    19. Describe the “Elastic Clause” in the Constitution. What were the two interpretations of it and how did it divide our founding fathers?
    20. List precedents set by George Washington.
    21. Compare the economic beliefs of Hamilton and Jefferson.
    22. Describe Alexander Hamilton’s financial plan.
    23. Discuss the emergence of political parties in the early 1800s.
    24. Describe the expanding power of the judicial branch under Chief Justice John Marshall.
    25. Describe the “Louisiana Purchase” and the “Lewis & Clark Expedition.” Who authorized it? For how much? What did it do for our country? What was the primary goal to the expedition? Was it achieved? What important work was done by the Corps of Discovery?
    26. Describe the War of 1812. Why was it fought? Who was it fought against? What was the result? How can it be compared to the Revolutionary War?
    27. Describe “Jacksonian Democracy.” How was he elected? What actions did he take regarding: the bank, the Native Americans, the common man?
    28. Explain reasons for the expansion of industry in the United States in the 1800’s. Include the influences of immigration, transportation, and resources.
    29. Discuss why the Monroe Doctrine was important to United States’ interests.
    30. Define and tell the significance of the following publications, including who wrote them and what purpose each served.
    • A Century of Dishonor
    • Common Sense
    • The Declaration of Independence
    • The Federalist Papers
    • Uncle Tom’s Cabin
    31. Explain the significance of the following people in both the historical and political realms.
    • Abraham Lincoln
    • Alexander Hamilton
    • Andrew Jackson
    • Chief Joseph
    • Cyrus McCormick
    • Dred Scott
    • Eli Whitney
    • Elias Howe
    • Frederick Douglass
    • George Washington
    • Harriet Beecher Stowe
    • Harriet Tubman
    • Henry Ford
    • James Madison
    • Jefferson Davis
    • John Brown
    • John Deere
    • Meriwether Lewis
    • Robert E. Lee
    • Thomas Jefferson
    • Thomas Paine
    • Ulysses S. Grant
    • William Clark
    32. Explain the significance of the railroad in American history. Include the beginnings, how it was used in different time periods, how it helped expansion, and how the Transcontinental Railroad was completed…and when.
    33. Define (and give examples/dates where appropriate) of the following:
    • Abolitionists
    • Anti-federalists
    • Bicameral Legislature
    • Black Codes
    • Carpetbaggers
    • Lincoln-Douglas Debates
    • Popular Sovereignty
    34. Define and tell the significance of the following Constitutional Amendments, including when they were enacted.
    • Bill of Rights
    • Fifteenth Amendment
    • Fourteenth Amendment
    • Thirteenth Amendment
    35. The Pre-Civil War Era saw some political acts/compromises, many involving slavery. Define each of the following.
    • Compromise of 1850
    • Fugitive Slave Law
    • Kansas-Nebraska Act
    • Missouri Compromise
    36. Provide an overview of Lincoln’s law/political career. Include his time in Illinois, his run for senator, his campaign for President, his Republican ideals, and his speeches.
    37. Contrast the North and South during the Civil War in terms of: People, Transportation, Resources, Army, Navy, Field Leaders, Style of Government, and Revenue.
    38. Give three examples of methods used to keep blacks from voting.
    39. Define and tell the significance of the following Court Cases, when they took place.
    • Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia
    • Dred Scott vs. Sandford
    • Marbury vs. Madison
    • McCulloch vs. Maryland
    • Plessy vs. Ferguson
    40. Provide an overview of the “Plains Indians.” Include examples of tribes and their lifestyle including homes and food.
    41. Trace the actions taken by the federal government to exert greater control over Native Americans in the latter part of the 19th century.
    42. Review how the federal government encouraged westward expansion and settlement.

  2. I wonder how much of the gilding is still there. There’s visible gold on the left nostril, but the rest looks like the oxidized bronze.

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