Height: 56.000 cm
Gift of the Earl of Ashburnham
Room 49: Roman Britain
Bronze statuette of Nero
Roman Britain, 1st century AD
Said to be from Barking Hall, Suffolk, but probably from Baylham Mill, near Ipswich
Though idealized, the facial features on this statuette do resemble those of Nero, the fifth Roman emperor (AD 54-68). This we know from his likeness on coins and official portraiture. The iconography is appropriate for an image of an emperor: the figure's upward gaze is reminiscent of traditional representations of Alexander the Great, the Macedonian emperor (reigned 336-323 BC). Alexander was seen as the paradigm of a great leader, even in the late-Roman period.
The piece is of very high quality, with lavish use of silver- and copper-plating and deliberately patinated black bronze.
T.W. Potter, Roman Britain, 2nd edition (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)