About this object

Over life size portrait of a man from the time of the Roman Republic, perhaps a successful general or politician, on ancient but recut togate bust. Head and bust were made from different marbles and there has been excessive restoration on the bust as well as chemical treatment for cleaning it. The head must have been cut to fit into a statue and as must have originally turned to the right than how it was fitted into this bust. The man has a volimuous hairstyle with thick tousled front hair, combed to the right from a parting over the left eye. The locks increase in volume over the middle of the forehead in an anastole arrangement. There were originally two long locks over the right eye, the traces of the recutting by the modern restorer are still visible. At the temples the hair is arranged in shorter disordered thick locks and at the nape of the neck, the locks are grown longer and sweep towards the ears. The man is of middle age as suggested by the wrinkles at the outer corners of the eyes, the heavy pouches below the eyes, the fleshy cheeks and the double chin and neck with folds of fat. The face is small and treated in the characteristic way of veristic portraits of older mean from the late Republican era, influenced by the Hellenistic tradition. Jane Fejfer sugggested that this may be a portrait of a famous general or politician because of the size of the portrait and its resemblance to the Hellenistic tradition. The bust is draped in a tunica and a toga and has been recut from a statue as it is clear by its size, the fold falling over the index plaque, the assymetry of the raised right shoulder and the modern dressing of the back. The style and the large flat umbo indicate a date of late Augustian/Tiberian period while the arrangement of the deep cuttings of the folds in the right breast and from the neckline to the middle of the breast and in a V shape, may suggest a Claudian or even later era.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Roman Republican
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
    1st Century BC late - 1st Century AD early
  • 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
    1070 mm x 600 mm x 400 mm x 242 kg
  • Note
    Said to be from Rome. In NML photograph it appears in the Garden Temple. Fejfer also discussed the arrangement of the front of the hair with portraits of Menander and suggested that perhaps portraits of Menander may have been used for inspiration in late republican portraits but also reused. Blundell describes it as a portrait of Cicero because of its resemblance to a similar bust in the Capitol in Rome.
  • 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.

  • A Selection from the Ince Blundell Hall Marbles

    Publisher: Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
    Date: 1961

  • 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 I - the Portraits. Part 2: The Roman Male Portraits

    Fejfer, J

    Author: Fejfer, J
    Publisher: Liverpool University Press
    Date: 1997

  • The use of laser cleaning to preserve patina on marble sculpture

    Cooper, M; Larson, J

    Author: Cooper, M; Larson, J
    Date: 1996


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
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