- Museum number
Marble figure of the young Bacchus with a personification of the vine (Ampelus). The arm holding the cup is restored.
- Production date
- 150-200 (circa)
Height: 1.52 metres
Height: 1580 millimetres
Width: 680 millimetres
Depth: 390 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Cook 2013, nr. 227:
Townley's description; ‘A statue of a young Bacchus, the size of life; it is naked except the skin of a lion covering part of both shoulders, and the breast, the feet are also covered with sandals. The left arm embraced an Androginous figure of Ampelus, the upper part of which has the form of a young Geni, with vine leaves and grapes springing from the cheeks and the body, which gradually looses the human form, and terminates in a vine plant; at the root is a lizard, and a leopard, with a collar of ivy round its neck, is biting at a bunch of grapes. This mythological group was found 1772 near La Storta, the first post from Rome on the road to Florence’ (TY 12/3, Chambers dining room 31).
The identification as Ampelus has been disputed, Smith insisting that the figure is female, and Avanzato (Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae) admitting the possibility of a female personification of the vine.
La Storta is consistently recorded as the findspot of this group in Townley’s papers, beginning with those associated with d’Hancarville (TY 12/7/27 and Catalogue by d’Hancarville) and including the Classified Catalogue (First Townley Inventory), the 1784 Transcripts (TY 10/3, fo. 15), and various versions of the parlour catalogue (TY 12/3, TY 12/22/61/1, TY 12/6, and the 1804 Parlour Catalogue). In a letter dated 24 December 1777, however, Jenkins specifically stated that it had been found in the Tenuta of the Duca di Rignano, near the via Praenestina, about four miles from the Porta Maggiore (TY 7/378). It is not clear how La Storta came to be assigned as findspot to this group as well as to the statue of Diana (1805,0703.12), where it is also mistaken.
Acquired from Jenkins in 1777 for £200, of which £166.13s. was allowed in credit for the return of nine items (present locations unknown; Cook 2011, nrs. 41*, 55*, 56*, 58*, 60*, 63*, 111*, 168*, and 171*), which had originally cost a total of £250. Jenkins noted that this amount in credit represented a deduction of one third of the original price (bill dated 25 April 1778, TY 8/74/25). The net cost of £33.7s. appears in the ‘Union Catalogue’ (fo. 62r), but in the second and third priced lists (TY 10/7 and TY 10/5), and in TY 10/3 (fo. 15), Townley recorded the full amount. On 26 July 1777, Jenkins wrote that he was ready to receive the objects offered by Townley for what he then called the ‘Groupe of the Bacchus and Faun’ (TY 7/372/1). On 13 September, he reported that the group had been shipped on 4 September (TY 7/374), and Townley later recorded the expenses incurred in shipping the group from Rome to London (TY 9/5). It seems to have arrived in December 1777.
1st ½ II AD (Müller); mid II AD (Pochmarski); Hadrianic/Antonine (Zanker); restored by Albacini (conjectured by G. Vaughan, ‘Albacini and his English Patrons’, Journal of the History of Collections 3/2 (1991), 183-197, 188-9, and thought to possibly be female personification of the vine); II AD (Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae I).
* Townley drawings 2010,5006.28 (attributed to Anders by I. D. Jenkins); 2010,5006.44; 2010,5006.77; and 2010,5006.113;
* Engravings TY 13/1/48-91, TY 13/2/4-6, TY 13/13/3 (by Metz), and 2010,5006.29;
* Zoffany: B. F. Cook, `The Townley Marbles in Westminster and Bloomsbury’, The British Museum Yearbook, 2 (1977), 36-37, figs. 19-20, no. 25;
* Nollekens: B. F. Cook, `The Townley Marbles in Westminster and Bloomsbury’, The British Museum Yearbook, 2 (1977), 45, figs. 26-27, no. 10;
* Chambers: B. F. Cook, `The Townley Marbles in Westminster and Bloomsbury’, The British Museum Yearbook, 2 (1977), 42-43, figs. 24-25, no. 24.
- Synopsis of the Contents of the British Museum (1808), IV.11;
- Ancient Marbles of the British Museum, III, pl. 11;
- A Guide to the Graeco-Roman Sculptures in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, 2 vols. (London, 1874  and 1876), I, no. 189;
- A. H. Smith, A Catalogue of Sculpture in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum, Vol. III (London 1904), 50-51, no. 1636;
- A. Levi, Ausonia 9 (1919), 61;
- V. Müller, RM 44 (1929), 78-9, fig. 11;
- P. Zanker, Klassizistische Statuen (Mainz, 1974), 117, pl. 83.3;
- Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, I, 690 s.v. Ampelos no. 1*;
- Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, III, 557 s.v. Dionysos/Bacchus no. 227;
- R. Neudecker, Die Skulpturenausstattung römischer Villen in Italien (Mainz am Rhein, 1990), 213, no. 54.6;
- Pochmarski, Dionysischen Gruppen, 324, no. P 4 (bibl.);
- G. Vaughan, ‘Albacini and his English Patrons’, Journal of the History of Collections 3/2 (1991), 183-197 188-9.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2009, 2 Apr-13 Oct, Alicante, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought
2010, 30 Apr-30 Aug, Seoul, National Museum of Korea, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought
2010-2011, 15 Oct-07 Feb, Taipei, The National Palace Museum, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought
2010-2011, 11 Mar-12 Jun, Kobe City Museum, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought
2011, 4 Jul-25 Sep, Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought
2011-2012, 25 Oct-12 Feb, Mexico City, National Anthropological Museum, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought
2012-2013, 6 Oct-6 Jan, Portland Art Museum, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought
2013, 6 May– 6Oct, Dallas Museum of Art, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought
2014, 21 Feb-9 Jun, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought
2014, 2 Aug –9 Nov, Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria, Australia, The Body Beautiful in Greek Art and Thought
2015, 26 Mar-5 Jul, The British Museum, Defining Beauty:the body in ancient Greek art.
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number