Archaistic Statuette of Athena


About this object

Statuette of Athena, sculpted in the Archaistic style of the Palladion type which was fashionable in Rome particularly during the reign of Claudius ( 41-54 AD ). The head and body are both ancient, but from different statues and of different marble. The goddess is in a frontal position with both her feet straight and holds the atrributes common to this type: the shield and the spear. She is smaller than lifesize and has a rigid pose. She wears a Corinthian helmet with an elaborate crest and she is holding the shield on her left arm while the right arm is raised and bent holding the remnants of possibly a spear. Her peplos is heavily pleated, and its long overfold pleats end in an inverted V at the lower hem. The vertical skirt folds descend to her ankles. The aegis is very large and seems to be a protective breastplate rather than an apotropaic device. The Medusa head is also large and has her tongue stretched out and a smiling mouth. The lionskin belt along Athena's body is unusual but may derive from the Athena Albani and the Dresden Athena. The head is a mixture of ancient and modern work and the face is classical and not in line with the archaicising body.

Blundell described her torso as modern and Italian. The arms and legs from the knees downwards are new and there are restorations on the tip of the nose, the chin, the helmet crest, the snaky edge of the aegis and in small patches of the drapery.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Roman Imperial
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • 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: Northern Europe: UK: England: London
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    1350 mm x 495 mm x 250 mm
  • Note
    Ashmole: the statuette has parallels with the Roman Emperor Claudius' revival of the Archaistic image of the Promachos (advancing in fight) Athens of Thessaly in coins from that era and the head is a copy of a work from the 5th century BC.
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell ( Collector, previous owner); 1st Lord Cawdor ( Previous owner); Joseph William Weld ( Previous owner)

Explore related


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    Author: Ashmole, Bernard
    Publisher: Clarendon Press
    Date: 1929
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  • Ancient Marbles in Great Britain

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    Author: Michaelis, A
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    Date: 1882

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    Vermeule, C; von Bothmer, D

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

  • The Ince Blundell collection of classical sculpture Volume III-The ideal sculpture

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    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.


  • Sale of the effects of 1st Baron Cawdor

    Start date: 1800-06
    End date: 1800-06
    Description: Sale of the effects of John Campbell, 1st Baron Cawdor, in London.


Previous owners

  • Joseph William Weld

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

    Owned from: 1800-06
    How acquired: Purchased
    Owned until: 1810
    Disposal method: Bequest
  • 1st Lord Cawdor

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1800-06
    Disposal method: Sold
Object view = Humanities
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