Head of Serapis or Jupiter


About this object

Head of either the god Serapis or Jupiter as suggested by the rays of the crown. The god has a paternal expression which would fit either Serapis or Jupiter. The head is unbroken and looks in a pristine condition to be ancient. The face has a particularly granular face that may have been intentional to make it look ancient. There are two drilling holes by the nose that are not common in ancient pieces and may have been used for taking measurements.

Blundell's 'Account' refers to the head as being discovered in ruins on the Via Appia in Rome. He appreciated it for its dignity and great majesty and identified it because of the golden rays of lights on its head.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Roman Imperial
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
    2nd Century AD but possibly an 18h century piece
  • Materials
    Copper; Marble
  • 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
    485 mm x 220 mm x 200 mm x 14 kg
  • Note
    Ashmole dated it in 2nd century AD and compared it to a seated statue from Cherchel which has a socket for modius but no rays although he noted that there is no exact correspondence of detail. The rays were added here as in the bust in the Vatican Rotonda to identify Serapis with Osiris. Thomas Jenkins in Rome article in the British School of Rome, Volume VI, No8 ,1920 author Thomas Ashby recorded the head in the collections of Thomas Jenkins.
  • 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 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
Have 11 place tagsPage load time: 93 ms