Our venues
Our museums and galleries


Italian School, 18th century

LL 159

About this object

This sculpture of the Roman Emperor Hadrian (born AD 76, died AD 138), was probably inspired by an original antique bust now in the Capitoline Museum in Rome. From AD 117 to his death, Hadrian ruled an empire that stretched from Scotland to the Sahara. The presence of a full beard on this bust makes it easier to identify as Hadrian. He was the first Roman Emperor to wear a full beard. It is thought that this was a mark of his devotion to Greek art and culture. The breastplate that he wears has lions heads on the shoulders. Lions are often used as a symbol of strength.

Hadrian married Vibia Sabina in about AD 100. However, we know from ancient sources that he also had several relationships with other men. Hadrian spent much of the early years as Emperor touring his vast empire. It was during these travels that he met the beautiful youth, Antinous and became enamored with him. Antinous became his beloved and accompanied him on his travels. Hadrian visited Egypt in AD 130, along with both his wife and Antinous, and embarked on a voyage up the River Nile. On 24 October Antinous drowned in the river. It lead to a public outpouring of grief on the part of Hadrian.

Object specifics

  • Other title(s)
    Bust of Hadrian
  • Artist(s)
    Italian School (Italian, born:1701, died:1800)
  • Date
    18th century
  • Materials
  • Measurements
    object/sculpture: 70 cm
  • Physical description
    Marble bust of a man with full beard. He wears a breastplate with lions on the shoulders.
  • Related people
    Italian School (Artist/maker) ; William Hesketh Lever (Previous owner) ; M Harris and Sons (Previous owner)
  • Other number(s)
    Accession Number: LL 159; Out of Use Accession Number: X 4184
  • Credit line
    Purchased by Lord Leverhulme from M Harris in 1922
  • Location
    Lady Lever Art Gallery, North Rotunda
  • Collection
    From the Lady Lever Art Gallery collections


Previous owners

  • William Hesketh Lever

    Owned from: 1922-12-22
    How acquired: bought from M. Harris and Sons, 22 December 1922 for £95:0:0
    Owned until: ?-
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • M Harris and Sons

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1922-12-22
    Disposal method: sold to Lord Lever on 22 December 1922 for £95:0:0
Object view = Fine Art
Page load time: 329 ms

LGBT collections

Explore our LGBT+ collections researched by our Pride and Prejudice research project