About this object

Female head. One of the most popular type of the archaistic style recognised in the oval face, the rounded cheeks, the broad strapping chin, thick lipped mouth with corners raised in the archaic smile and mouth slightly parted to reveal teeth. The hair is in think long locks combed down from the top of the crown into a loose shag that reaches the upper back and in the front in a fringe that frames the face. Three projections punctuate the fringe and they are made by hair plaits that have been folded over themselves. A band secures the folds and there are rounded flaps around the ears. The Ince head is different to other similar examples in the narrower eyes and the replacement of a crown with a hair band. The details are not as sharply linear but this could be because of harsh cleaning. Bartman believed that the piece is in the archaistic style rather than a product of East Greece as Ashmole had originallly proposed and that it was created for the Roman market and that it belonged to the Bacchic circle as confirmed by a number of Roman reliefs that depict theatre masks. There is a literary reference to the piece as a companion to the Herm of Bacchus 59.148.127 and because of their stylistic similarities the two head may have been indeed accompanied each other. Bartman proposed that the pairing of a male and female head could have been to illustrate devotional love and adding a sanctified aura to gardens and other spaces.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Roman Imperial
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
    2nd Century AD
  • Materials
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Col. Joseph W Weld, 1959
  • Collector
    Henry Blundell
  • Place collected
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    420 mm x 230 mm
  • Note
    Blundell remarked that the head was engraved by Guattani and in the location of the studio of Allesandroni and d' Este. A similar head was in Cavaceppi' s Raccolta on a herm that cannot be traced. Bartman proposed that it could be that the head was removed from Cavaceppi's herm and sold to Lisandroni and d'Este who put it in a new bust similar to 59.148.127 to sell it as pair and therefore as evidence of a movement of items from one restorer's studio to another in order to make a sale.
  • 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.

  • 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 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 Col Sir 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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