Statuette of Eros and Swan

59.148.45

About this object

Statuette group of boy (Eros) and swan restored in the 17th century from an originally single male figure. The restoration may have been inspired from Boethus' Boy Struggling with a Goose, a Hellenistic work mentioned by Pliny. Instead of the goose this group has a swan and the boy is not wrestling with it, although he does have a ribbon around the neck of the swan. If the restorer used the swan to refer to Venus he did not proceed to add wings to the boy so that he is Eros. The head of the boy most probably belonged to the body. The arms are also a restoration but they follow the original posture as it is suggested by the position of the shoulders. The body of the boy has movement and he may be playing with a ball or a hoop. The boy looks like a toddler and has a protruding belly and thick thighs. He has long side ringlets and a centre braid. Children in similar postures were a common theme in Roman villas of the Imperial Age and often used around fountains.
The lower part of the group is heavily restored from a single piece of marble. The hair is also different between the left and right side suggesting that there was some reworking.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Art
  • Culture
    Roman
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Materials
    Marble
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Col. Joseph W Weld, 1959
  • Collector
    Henry Blundell
  • Place collected
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date collected
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Measurements
    760 mm x 550 mm
  • Note
    Curator's note: fragment of mouth of Eros stored with statue (GM, September 2014). Similar statues inspired by the Boy Struggling with a Goose can be found in the Museo Capitolino. A similar statue of the boy playing is in Ny Carlsberrg Glyptotek I.N.2089. Similar active children are included in Hutchinson book about Children Sarcophagoi. The boy also compares well with the figure of Eros with the Bow 59.148.26. Blundell romantically connected the figure of the boy with Venus and love.
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell (Collector, previous owner); Francesco d'Este (Previous owner); Ippolito d'Este (Previous owner); Vincenzo Pacetti (Previous owner); Joseph William Col Sir Weld (Previous owner)

Explore related

Publications

  • A Catalogue of the Ancient Marbles at Ince Blundell Hall

    Ashmole, Bernard

    Author: Ashmole, Bernard
    Publisher: Clarendon Press
    Date: 1929
    Description: An illustrated catalogue of the ancient sculptures collected by Henry Blundell and formerly at Ince Blundell Hall.

  • An Account of the Statues, Busts, Bass Relieves, Cinerary Urns, and other ancient marbles, and paintings at Ince. Collected by H.B.

    Blundell, Henry

    Author: Blundell, Henry
    Publisher:
    Date: 1803
    Description:

  • Ancient Marbles in Great Britain

    Michaelis, A

    Author: Michaelis, A
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    Date: 1882
    Description:

  • Owning the Past

    Guilding, Ruth

    Author: Guilding, Ruth
    Publisher: Yale University Press
    Date: 2014
    Description:

  • The Ince Blundell collection of classical sculpture Volume III-The ideal sculpture

    Bartman, Elizabeth

    Author: Bartman, Elizabeth
    Publisher: Liverpool University Press
    Date: 2017
    Description: This book investigates the important antiquities collection formed by Henry Blundell of Ince Blundell Hall, near Liverpool, in the late eighteenth century. Consisting of more than 500 ancient marbles - the UK's largest collection of Roman sculptures after that of the British Museum - the collection was assembled primarily in Italy during Blundell's various 'Grant Tour' visits. As ancient statues were the preeminent souvenir of the Grand Tour, Blundell has strong competition from other collectors, British nobility and European aristocrats, monarchs, and the Pope. His statues represent a typical cross section of sculptures that would have decorated ancient Roman houses, villas, public spaces and even tombs, although their precise origins are largely unknown. Most are likely to have come from Rome and at least one was found at Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli.

Ownership

Previous owners

  • Joseph William Col Sir Weld

    Owned from: 1958
    How acquired: By descent
    Owned until: 1959
    Disposal method: Donation
  • Henry Blundell

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Purchased
    Owned until: 1810
    Disposal method: Bequest
  • Vincenzo Pacetti

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Francesco d'Este

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Ippolito d'Este

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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