Statue of a Leopard

59.148.77

About this object

Statue of what was wrongly identified by Blundell as a tigress but more likely to be a leopard with the characteristic small head, rounded ears, long tail and large paws and the irregular spotting although in the statue is light on dark rather than dark on light as in nature. The animal seems to be resting although she has a certain alertness as suggested by the lift and turn of the head towards her right shoulder. Her expression is almost humane especially the contraction of her brow. She has a ram's head under the right paw. The animal is also a mother as it is suggested by her underside breasts. She may have killed because she needed to feed her offspring. The body is made of grey spotted granite and the eyes of yellow marble, called 'giallo antico'.
Bartman suggested that the inspiration may have come from Egyptian statues of lions examples of which were also in Rome. The Roman used realistic representation of animals to allude to the pastoral or divine realms.

Said to have been found with two Egyptian vases in a vineyard near the Porta Portese in Rome. This type of statue may have been used as a grave monument.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Art
  • Culture
    Roman Imperial
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Materials
    Granite; Marble
  • Location
    World Museum, Level 3, Weston Discovery Centre
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Col. Joseph W Weld, 1959
  • Collector
    Henry Blundell
  • Place collected
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date collected
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Measurements
    880 mm; x 34 5/8 in
  • Note
    Blundell identified it wrongly as a tigress but this would not be something that was common in Roman art. Bartman suggested that the closest example is a leopard from Ptolemais which was used as a fountain ornament in the frigarium of the 1st century AD Palazzo delle Colonne. Smaller leopards in darker marble are in the Vatican.
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell (Collector, 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:

  • Mythological and Decorative Sculptures in Colored Stones from Egypt, Greece, North Africa, Asia Minor, and Cyprus

    Vermeule, Cornelius C

    Author: Vermeule, Cornelius C
    Publisher: Department of Ancient Egyptian, Nubian and Near Eastern Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
    Date: 1996
    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:

Ownership

Previous owners

  • Joseph William Col Sir Weld

    Owned from: 1958
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1959
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Henry Blundell

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1810
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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