Spier, Jeffrey

Treasures of the Ferrell Collection

24.0 x 31.0 cm, 340 p., 391 illustrations color, hard cover with dust jacket
98,00 €

ISBN: 9783895007958
Table of Contents

Short Description

James Ferrell has collected Greek and Roman antiquities for many years to satisfy his life-long interest in ancient history. His collection is particularly important for its focus on jewelry, engraved gems and cameos, imperial medallions, and silver plate dating from the end of the Roman Empire and the early Byzantine period (3rd-7th centuries AD). It was at this time that the Roman Empire was gradually overrun by barbarian invaders and shifted its capital eastward, to the newly founded city of Constantinople.
The Ferrell Collection is particularly rich in objects made of precious metal created in royal and imperial workshops, ranging from jewelry of the Hellenistic Greek kings to medallions and brooches presented by the Roman emperors to high officials and military officers. Also included are beautifully made objects from Gothic craftsmen of the fifth and sixth centuries, including gold and silver buckles and jewelry inlaid with garnets. The catalogue continues with a superb assemblage of Byzantine jewelry and an important selection of sixth-century ecclesiastical silver vessels.

Jeffrey Spier is a university associate and adjunct professor in the Classics Department at the University of Arizona. He has published extensively on Greek and Roman gems and jewelry and on early Christian and Byzantine art. His books include “Ancient Gems and Finger Rings. Catalogue of the Collections, The J. Paul Getty Museum” (1992), “Late Antique and Early Christian Gems” (2007), and “Picturing the Bible: the Earliest Christian Art” (2007).


This volume publishes over 200 works of art belonging to the American collector, James Ferrell. The focus of the collection is on jewelry, engraved gems and cameos, medallions, and silver plates primarily of the late Roman and early Byzantine periods (3rd–7th centuries AD). Much of the material derives from imperial workshops and served as official gifts.
The catalogue opens with a small selection of Hellenistic jewelry, including a group composed of a necklace, earrings, and rings probably of Ptolemaic origin. The second chapter is composed primarily of late Roman jewelry, gems and cameos, and other objects in precious metal, including necklaces, bracelets, rings, fibulae, and belts, most of which date between the third and fifth centuries AD. The third and fourth chapters are devoted to the jewelry and other objects found in Gothic tombs of the fifth and sixth centuries AD. Chapter Five presents an outstanding selection of Byzantine jewelry of the sixth and seventh century, including pendants, crosses, bracelets, earrings, and rings, many set with precious gems and pearls. The final chapter is devoted to Byzantine ecclesiastical silver of the sixth century AD.
The publication will be of considerable interest to a variety of scholars, museums, and collectors. Historians of late antiquity will find many objects with important imperial associations. The rich selection of Byzantine jewelry and silver, including many pieces decorated with unusual iconography, will be of importance to Byzantinists. The Gothic objects include many pieces of particularly high quality. Jewelry historians and collectors will be delighted with the superb color photography.

Biographical Note


August 2004-present: University Associate and Adjunct Professor, Department of Classics, University of Arizona

Guest Curator, The Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, for the exhibition “Picturing the Bible: the Earliest Christian Art”, shown November 18, 2007-March 30, 2008

December 1999-to September 2002: Faculty Research Associate, Literae Humaniores, Oxford University

March 1998-June 1999: Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University College London

February-April 1997: Guest Curator, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, for the exhibition “San Marco and Venice”

1988-1997: Honorary Research Fellow, Institute of Archaeology, University College London. Lecturer in Greek Numismatics, 1991-92, 1993-94; Greek Vase Painting, 1996.

Academic Training:

October 1983-April 1988: Merton College, Oxford.
D.Phil., Classical Archaeology (Faculty of Literae Humaniores), for the dissertation “Minor Arts and Regional Styles in East Greece”, 700-500 B.C., under the direction of Professor Sir John Boardman.

September 1976-September 1977: Research Assistant to Professor George M.A. Hanfmann at the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis (Turkey), Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

September 1973-June 1977: Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. B.A. degree in Classical Archaeology.

Honorary positions:

Elected Fellow of the American Numismatic Society, New York, October, 2005

Publications (selection):
Late Antique and Early Christian Gems
(Wiesbaden, 2007)

Picturing the Bible: the Earliest Christian Art
(New Haven and London, 2007, in association with the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth)

“St. George,” in Kirsten Aschengreen Piacenti and John Boardman, Ancient and Modern Gems and Jewels in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen
(London, 2008), p. 45, no. 24 (a thirteenth century cameo in the Royal Collection, Windsor)

“Fifth Century Gems and Rings: From Constantinople to Italy and the West,” in Gemma Sena Chiesa and Elisabetta Gagetti, eds., Aquileia e la glittica di età ellenistica e romana (Trieste, 2009), pp. 237-245

“Some Unconventional Early Byzantine Rings,” in Chris Entwistle and Nöel Adams, eds., “Intelligible Beauty”: Recent Research on Byzantine Jewellery (London, 2010), pp. 13-19


3rd century, c 200 to c 299 (38) || 4th century, c 300 to c 399 (45) || 5th century, c 400 to c 499 (47) || 6th century, c 500 to c 599 (45) || 7th century, c 600 to c 699 (35) || Altertumswissenschaften (125) || Antiques & collectables (16) || Antiques & collectables: jewellery (2) || Archaeology (527) || Byzantinistik (15) || Exhibition catalogues & specific collections (210) || Fine arts: art forms (180) || Fine arts: treatments & subjects (401) || History (835) || History of art (240) || Kulturwissenschaft (45) || Non-graphic art forms (49) || Precious metal, precious stones & jewellery: artworks & design (12) || Spätantike (62) || c 1 CE to c 500 CE (153) || c 500 CE to c 1000 CE (181)