Statue of Athena (the 'Ince Athena')


About this object

Statue of Athena, her weight on her right leg, her left leg with the knee bent to the side and slightly back. The pose and drapery derive from Roman copies of the Ancient Greek statue of Athena Parthenons, while the Corintihian helmet head evoke the type of Athena Velletri. The original Greek type most likely dated to the late 5th century BC. Her head is tilted down and to the right, and she is looking at an object (today a restored owl but perhaps originally a small figure of Nike) in her right hand. The left hand may have held a spear, or perhaps a small shield. Athena wears a peplos belted at the waist, with a narrow aegis. Her hair is parted in the centre and pulled back into a long 'ponytail'. She wears a Corinthian helmet. Her expression is serious and she is of a young age.
The statue once belonged to the Palazzo Lante. It was bought by Henry Blundell in 1786 from Thomas Jenkins for £200. Jenkins had bought it from Giovanni Volpato, and its provenance was said to have been Ostia.
The statue is in excellent condition, the head is unbroken from the body and there are only a few restorations.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Roman Imperial
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy
  • Date made
    1st Century 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
    1830 mm x 660 mm x 680 mm x 388.5 g
  • Note
    Until the discovery of the Athena statue in Hadrian's Villa in 1950 the Ince Athena was the best preserved statue and important for the practices of restoration and copying of the 18th century and much appreciated for its peaceful guise and wisdom. Townley had a version of this type of Athena, now at the British Museum and King Gustav, now at the Royal Museum in Stockholm. Blundell appreciated it for its elegance and simplicity but Townley dimissed it as coarse. Dates suggested for the Roman statue either Augustan (27 BC-14 AD) or from Hadrian times (117-138 AD).
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell ( Collector, previous owner); Thomas Jenkins ( Previous owner); Giovanni Volpato ( 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

  • Belleza y Virtud : Coleccionismo inglés de art clásico, siglo XVIII

    Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia

    Author: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia
    Date: 2019-03
    Description: Exhibition catalogue listing NML's loaned items to the exhibition titled: Beauty and Virtue. English collection of Classic Art. Century XVIII

  • Greek Sculpture

    Muskett, Georgina

    Author: Muskett, Georgina
    Publisher: Bristol Classical Press
    Date: 2012

  • Greek Sculpture: the Classical period

    Boardman, J

    Author: Boardman, J
    Publisher: Thames and Hudson Ltd
    Date: 1991

  • Henry Blundell's Sculpture Collection at Ince Hall

    Vaughan, Gerard

    Author: Vaughan, Gerard
    Publisher: Tate Gallery, Liverpool; National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside
    Date: 1989

  • Notes on a New Edition of Michaelis: Ancient Marbles in Great Britain

    Vermeule, C; von Bothmer, D

    Author: Vermeule, C; von Bothmer, D
    Date: 1959-04

  • The Ince Blundell Collection

    Southworth, E

    Author: Southworth, E
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
    Date: 1991

  • 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.

  • Tα Meta Keφαλον Kpioν Kpaνη

    Korres, G S

    Author: Korres, G S
    Date: 1970


Previous owners

  • Joseph William Weld

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

    Owned from: 1786
    How acquired: Purchased
    Owned until: 1810
    Disposal method: Bequest
  • Thomas Jenkins

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Purchased
    Owned until: 1786
    Disposal method: Sold
  • Giovanni Volpato

    Owned from: 1784
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Sold
Object view = Humanities
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