About this object

The statue is in two parts, the head and the bust which they did not belong to each other. The head is of a young female, executed in an idealised way, the face is of delicate physiognomy, the eyes perfectly oval and the mouth small and curvareous. She has a perky and bright expression which may indicate that she is a goddess or a mythological figure executed in a post classical mode. Her hair is also heavily idealised, she has thick ropey strands of hair with a wave from the centre to the longer shoulder rocks. However as there are no particular attributes it is difficult to identify her. It is also difficult to tell whether the bust is ancient or from18th century. The hair on the crown is unfinished and this suggests that it may have not been intended to be seen and may have been covered, most likely by a diadem. The head is weathered and has breakage. it is very different to Grand Tour collections and other female Ince Blundell pieces. The bust also has some unusual features such as the tunic which is worn under a heavy cloak and encircles the torso with the curved neckline. Several folds descending from the left shoulder fall diagonally across the chest and there is a buldge on the right, at the point of the right elbow with the arm bending upwards. Bartman noted that this a familiar pose for statues of Pudicia but proposed that the cloak links this statue more with the type of Aspasia. Bartman's interpretation believed that the Ince example may have been cut out of an ancient whole statue of Aspasia. The underside of it does not have a finished edge and is not turned upwards at the sides. In Roman times Aspasia was popular as a Greek original and a stocky type for female portraits.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
    18th century possibly Head; 2nd Century AD Bust
  • Materials
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Col. Joseph W Weld, 1959
  • Collector
    Henry Blundell
  • Place collected
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    600 mm x 520 mm x 270 mm x 81 kg
  • Note
    Blundell named the statue as Ariadne as this would be the most popular identification for for idealised female mythological statues with no specific characteristics. This reflects the popularity of the Vatican's reclining Ariadne and of Capitoline's Bacchus.
  • 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
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