About this object

Bust of a female, plausibly the goddess Aphrodite identified by the idealised way she is portrayed and the locks which are swept up into the so-called Aphrodite knot. This kind of knot can be also used for statues of Apollo, but the Ince bust has a feminine look especially with the small mouth and the way the hair frames the delicate face. The wide bunches of hair that curve back from the centre part in a large loop although obliterated by reworking and restoration indicate that the head represented Venus in a Hellenistic guise This type of head was also used for different Venus statue types such as the Crouching, the Medici, the Pudica and the Syracuse one. It is therefore difficult to establish the original context for such heads. The head was restored to a great extent as it is clear from the range of finishes such as the deep drilling of the curls of the hairknot and the regularised chiseling of the hair on the crown. This type of restoration was poor and Volpato who is the artist named as the restorer did not have a great reputation as a restorer. Blundell criticised Volpato's restoration as horrid but perhaps purchased the head because it had an exceptional provenance: it once adorned the statue of Venus signed by Menophantos in the Palazzo Chigi. Blundell recorded that the head had been patched up by Volpato but because it was inadequate for the statue was replaced by another head. We do not know when the head was removed and sold to Blundell. After its removal from the Chigi statue it was mounted on a square bust and a round profiled base which is standard for 18th century. The head's restorations are in the nose and upper lip, left ear and hair, part of the bun and back. A restored area above the right ear is missing and so are the small patches at the inner corner of the right eye and the outer left eye. The outer edge of the bun is abraded, much of the hair has been reworked especially the hairline.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
  • Materials
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Col. Joseph W Weld, 1959
  • Collector
    Henry Blundell
  • Place collected
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    590 mm x 300 mm x 280 mm x 33 kg
  • Note
    Blundell ignored the heavy restoration of the bust because of its important provenance and the association with the sculptor Menophantos; in Blundell's Account this head was once part of the Cornualia Venus. The statue to which the head originally belonged to was discovered in 1760 by the Marquese di Cornovaglia, Charles Cornwallis.
  • Related people
    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

  • 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.


Previous owners

  • 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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