The squat globular body with a strap handle and a flat disc base, and a high neck terminating elegantly in a flared, trumpet-shaped mouth. Decorated with additional white and yellow on a black ground, with a fine necklace motif around the neck and a white painted bird flanked by foliate sprays.
Condition: Intact with the painted details very well-preserved.
Richard and Molly Alexander Collection, Brighton, UK, acquired before the late 1970s
This is a finely painted example of the Gnathia style, characteristic by its black-glazed surface with added colours, chiefly white and yellow. This vessel has some similarity with work by the Painter of Lecce 1075.
There is a squat lekythos in the Louvre (acc. no. K 618) with a similar dove. Such vessels with doves tend to be perfume vessels or vessels associated with women, and the inclusion of a dove and its association with love, may have made it particularly attractive to a young woman.
For further reading and other examples of painted birds between foliate sprays, see J R Green, 'Some painters of Gnathia vases', Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies, 15, London, 1968, pp.41-43; J R Green 'Gnathia and other Overpainted Wares of Italy and Sicily - A Survey' in P Lévêque and J-P Morel (eds.) Céramiques hellénistiques et romaines, iii, Paris 2001, p.59.