About this object

Bust of a man, the head is unbroken from the bust. The man has a voluminous hairstyle, with very thick, clearly separated locks falling onto the forehead, a moustache, and a full, curly beard. There are wrinkles on his forehead, the cheeks are flaccid and the breast muscles are slightly flabby which may indicate that he is elderly. The man looks serious with his gaze turned to the left. There is a lot of drilling used for the hair at the front and the beard while at the back the hair is mainly rendered by carving. There is some reworking on the forehead and the eyes. It is difficult to date this portrait because there are many parallels from the Hadrianic, and general Antonine period to the Severan period. One of the features these Antonine and Severan portraits share but missing in this potrait is the indication for the iris and pupil. This omission may be due to some reworkingin that area. The nose and lower lip are the most obvious restorations. The size of the bust is first seen in the Hadrianic period and continues unchanged into the 3rd century AD. Blundell identified it as a portrait of Clodius Albinus, the emperor who had been given the title of Caesar by Septimus Severus.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Roman Imperial
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
    200 AD about
  • Materials
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Col. Joseph W Weld, 1959
  • Collector
    Henry Blundell
  • Place collected
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    715 mm
  • Note
    From the Villa Mattei and displayed in the Garden Temple. The flickery treatment of the hair at the front compares well with Apollodoros bust in Munich, dated to late Hadrianic period. Later versions of this hair treatment can be found in Woburn Abbey and dated to the early Severan period. Jane Fejfer proposed that the head resembles late Hadrianic portraits such as those of Commodus, especially in the treatment of the beard, while other features such as the individual strands of hair resemble portraits of Caracalla as a young boy from the Severan period. Fejfer compared the portrait to the a similar one in the Prado Museum in Madrid. The hairstyle of 59.148.87 is close to Woburn Abbey and the proposed date is about 200 AD.
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell ( Collector, previous owner); Ciriaco Mattei ( Previous owner); Joseph William Weld ( Previous owner)

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Previous owners

  • Ciriaco Mattei

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1614
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • 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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