Description: A bronze openwork attachment of a panther-like animal with curved back and the snout touching the tip of the tail, with a dark green-brown patination. A squared loop for attachment on the reverse.
Size: 32 x 29 mm/1.2 x 1.1 ins.
Date: c. 5th-4th Century B.C.
Provenance: From the private collection of Oliver Hoare (1945-2018).
Background: Oliver Hoare was an English art dealer regarded in his time as a leading dealer in Islamic art, but was also well-known for his relationship with Diana, Princess of Wales. Hoare studied art history at the Sorbonne before joining Christie's in 1967, where he founded the Islamic Art Department. Later he set up his own gallery in Pimilco, central London. As a private dealer, he worked with major art collectors, particularly in the Middle East, including Sheikh Saud bin Mohammed Al-Thani of Qatar, the foremost collector of his time, and was instrumental in building up the fine Islamic collections of national museums in Kuwait and Qatar. But to the wider public, Hoare, described as good-looking and debonair, was better known for his affair with Diana, Princess of Wales, from 1992-1993. Once he was found hiding half-naked behind a potted tree at Kensington Palace where Diana had her apartment, smoking a cigar while a fire alarm sounded. On another occasion he was spotted climbing into the boot of Diana’s car. Diana was said at the time to be obssessed with Hoare, which perplexed the present King Charles III, who reportedly remarked to a mutual friend ‘What on earth can they talk about?’ It is said that Hoare knew all of Diana’s secrets, which he took to the grave. Lady Diana’s rather racy relationship with Hoare is explored further here.