Incensed? Uni buys £1million perfume burner

The Ashmolean Museum has saved a valuable Renaissance perfume burner from the clutches of the Getty Museum.The Oxford establishment has had its eye on the bronze for four years, but has only now been able to raise £980,000 to buy it. The bronze joins the Fortnum collection of ‘Functional Art’, one of the seventh largest bronze collections in the world, where it takes pride of place. Crafted by Desiderio da Firenze in Padua, the centre of art bronze during the era, the burner would have scented the houses of the only the very rich.Timothy Wilson, Keeper of Western Art, admits that the burner is “the best of its kind”., and that it “fitted superlatively into this collection”.Massive donations by the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the National Art Collections Fund enabled the Ashmolean to put up the asking price. The burner can no longer perform its original task, but it is believed that charcoal would have been placed in the bottom of the burner, with the flavoured pastilles in a tray above. A thin trail of smoke trailed from the mouths of the Satyr and Medusa.
Archive: 0th week HT 2004