About this object

Over life statue of a heavily draped female-matron in a stolid pose. Her left leg is slightly bent and her foot turns outwards. The vertical fall of her chiton counteracts any sense of movement. The upper body is also fixed, the drapery has a great volume and encases her body. She wears a chiton with a kolpos which hangs below the hips and a long himation. The drapery of the himation is unusual, especially the roll at the neckline, the thick bunch of folds of the lower arms and the long ends that hang down, well below the knees. The subject is difficult to identify but the large scale of it suggests either a deity of an empress.
Restorations include the head and the veil above the shoulders, the left wrist, hand, the pomegranate, the right hand and the wrist
The statue is made from granulated marble. The work is recorded in the Villa d'Este inventory and is depicted in a a red chalk drawing from a sketchbook associated with Dosio. The sketchbook shows the statue in an earlier restoration where instead of a pomegranate she pulls her drapery with her left hand and the right hand instead of extended and with the palm up, faced downwards and grasped an ax. The crown of the head is also different in the sketchbook from the current statue and this may indicate that the present head is new. The 18th century restoration may have been necessary because the original statue may have been displayed outdoors and in need of restoration. The ax of the Renaissance restoration in the sketchbook may have derived from the reliefs of the Capitoline. The 18th century restorer may probably found the axe inappropriate for a deity.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Roman Imperial
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
    3rd 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
    1480 mm
  • Note
    Elizabeth Bartman: the statue is a deity, either Juno or Ceres because of the matrimonial impression she has. The statue dates to the mid imperial phase and influenced by the 4th century BC Eleusinian relief example of Demeter. It is also very different to the prevailing mode for Roman female iconography with thin fabrics wrapped diagonally across the body. Bartman suggests that the patron of this work wished for an old fashioned image that symbolised modesty and autonomy. The index finger of the right hand is detached and kept with the object. Hadrian Villa's provenance for the statue is speculative.
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell ( Collector, previous owner); Ippolito d'Este ( Previous owner); Joseph William Weld ( Previous owner)

Explore related


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    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
  • Ippolito d'Este

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