About this object

A slightly smaller than lifesize statue of Apollo, he strides forward with his left leg. The pose of the legs and the figure's frontality give the statuette an Archaic look, similar to the Greek kouroi or the early classical successors of the Kritias Boy. Other features are later than the Archaic period: the subtle torsion of the shoulders, breasts and hips which give the statuette an animated look. The arms deviate from each other and thus break away from the archaic kouros tradiyion. The left arm hangs close to the torso and is bent at the elbow in the standard kouros mode while the right opens out more widely to the side and rests on the strut. The left hand probably grasped something that is currently missing. The typical attributes of the Apollo such as the bow, arrow or the laurel are all rendered in relief on the strut. Bartman proposed a quiver strap, a bunch of arrows or a laurel branch plucked from the tree. The statue has lost much of its original surface and had to be fixed with plaster filling at its front. However the treatment of the muscles is ancient, the body has the physique of a youthful Apollo with a slender waist and elongated legs. The torso is solid and evokes early classical iconography. The head however is in a different style. It sits on a long neck and has a square-oval face with thick regular curls that sweep off the face to tuck under a fillet. Behind the ears the locks are longer and hang as a single mass onto the nape of the neck, loop up and tuck under the fillet and fold over to descend once again, the overall movement being a zig zag one. The forehead is broad and offest by the elongated lower face, the eyes are long and almond shaped under a low brow, their expression is one of concentration and dominates the face with the lightly chiselled iris and pupil. The nose is strong and the mouth is slightly open. Ashmole proposed that the iris and pupil were modern but Bartman believed them to be ancient features. The geometry, regularity and naturalism of the face suggest Greek high classical period. Bartman categorised the statuette as one of the severising early classical period.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Roman Imperial
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
    2nd Century AD mid
  • Materials
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Col. Joseph W Weld, 1959
  • Collector
    Henry Blundell
  • Place collected
    Europe: Northern Europe: UK: England: London: Wandsworth: Roehampton
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    1630 mm x 480 mm x 500 mm x 256.5 kg
  • Note
    The statuette has been widely discussed among scholars, Michaelis and Conze viewed it as an example of eclectic style of an archaistic origin. Whether the eclectic style is a result of the joining together of disparate parts or because of the artist wished to combine different styles has also been debated. Sauer proposed an attribution of the statuette to the sculptor Paionios, because of the similarities to the Hertz head which was regarded as a copy of the Paionios Nike from Olympia. However the Olympia Nike which is missing its head is a work of the mature 5th century compared to the archaic looking style of the Ince piece. Bartman discussed the methodological problems with Sauer's proposition and proposed that the similaries between the two heads may be due to the general classical type rather the work by the same sculptor. Bartman also challenged the identification of the Apollo head with a female, as the lower half of the forehead is broadly cartilaginous, a feature not associated with female heads. The Nike by Paionios also has a fuller face, rounded cheeks and chin and a more closed mouth with smaller eyes and wears a head band that is missing from Apollo that the Ince head. The eclecticism of the Ince Apollo head has also been compared with the similar eclectic style of the Stephanos Athlete. Bartman viewed the Ince Apollo's pose as one of straightforward alertness and compared it more with the Apollo Piombino because of the ponytail and the direct one dimensional personality. Also compares well with the marble Apollo found in the House of Menander at Pompeii and another one in the Vatican. Bartman: the severe look of the god could mean that the Roman owner of the work displayed it in a private or public space to evoke a sense of religion. The statue was bought upon Townley's recommendations from the sale of Lord Besborough in 1881. Blundell appreciated it for its early severe style and purchased it to display in the purposefully built Garden Temple. Blundell also appreciated it as a copy of a bronze original and this means that he became aware of the post Wilkenmann attitudes and views that the Italian excavated marbles were Roman copies of earlier works.
  • Related people
    2nd Earl of Bessborough ( Previous owner); 3rd Earl of Bessborough ( Previous owner); Henry Blundell ( Collector, previous owner); Joseph William Weld ( Previous owner)

Explore related


  • 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.

  • Ancient Marbles in Great Britain

    Michaelis, A

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

  • Lexicon iconographicum mythologiae classicae

    Publisher: Artemis
    Date: 1981

  • 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.


  • Sale of Lord Bessborough's collection

    Start date: 1801-04-07
    End date: 1801-04-07
    Description: Sale of the Bessborough family's collection of classical sculpture housed in Parkstead House, Roehampton, in April 1804. Although the sale was conducted by Christie's, the sale took place at Roehampton.


Previous owners

  • Joseph William Weld

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

    Owned from: 1801-04-07
    How acquired: Purchased
    Owned until: 1810
    Disposal method: Bequest
  • 3rd Earl of Bessborough

    Owned from: 1793
    How acquired: Inherited
    Owned until: 1801-04-07
    Disposal method: Sold
  • 2nd Earl of Bessborough

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1793
    Disposal method: Bequest
Object view = Humanities
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