About this object

A slightly underlife size portrait of a woman restored on an ancient bust.
The head is turned to the right. The structure of the neck shows that the present turn is exaggerated. The woman wears a ‘tower’ hairstyle – where the front hair is separated from the back by a thick plait made of probably two strands of hair arranged in five S shaped locks on either side of the central parting. The S shaped locks are wound around two twisted strands of hair visible only above the middle of the forehead. There is a bow by the ends of the S-shaped locks. The hair at the back is combed into a high tower nest. This hairstyle is associated to the one worn by Faustina Maior. The bust is foreign to the head. The nose and its surrounding area are restored, as are both ears and large pieces of hair at the front. There is damage to the back of the hair, and there are several recent impact marks on the face.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Roman Imperial
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
    140 AD - 160 AD
  • Materials
  • 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
  • Measurements
    760 mm x 420 mm x 285 mm
  • Note
    Said to have been found at Ostia and bought by Blundell from Bartolomeo Cavaceppi. Encrustration at the back of the portrait is similar to a number of portraits that were found in Ostia. A variant of the hairstyle can be seen in a colossal portrait in Tripolis, the dating of the portrait derives from this hairstyle. Similar hairstyles can be found in many private portraits as well as on grave reliefs. There has been ambiguity as to whether the portrait is ancient. Jane Fejfer concluded that the quality of the carving and the carefull executed restorations make the portrait ancient. In NML photograph it is displayed in the Garden Temple.
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell ( Collector, previous owner); Bartolomeo Cavaceppi ( 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.

  • A Selection from the Ince Blundell Hall Marbles

    Publisher: Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
    Date: 1961

  • 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
    Date: 1803

  • Ancient Marbles in Great Britain

    Michaelis, A

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

  • The Ince Blundell Collection of Classical Sculpture. Volume I - the Portraits. Part 1: The Female Portraits

    Fejfer, Jane; Southworth, Edmund

    Author: Fejfer, Jane; Southworth, Edmund
    Publisher: HMSO
    Date: 1991


Previous owners

  • Bartolomeo Cavaceppi

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