- Museum number
Marble statuette of Cupid bending a bow.
- Production date
Height: 59.69 centimetres
Height: 605 millimetres
Width: 440 millimetres
Depth: 260 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Cook 2013, nr. 179:
Townley's description; ‘A small statue of Cupid bending his bow; a lions skin hangs over the quiver, which serves as the support. it was found enclosed within a large amphora, at Castel Guido, the ancient Lorium’ (TY 12/3, park drawing room 8).
Bought from Hamilton in 1776 for £60. Hamilton mentioned the statue first in a letter dated 5 May 1776 (TY 7/609) as having been found at Castel Guido: ‘with regard to this little statue’, he wrote, ‘I shall not ask your leave, but send it with the greatest expedition along with the head of the Giove Serapide as the most precious cameo you ever saw’. What he meant by ‘cameo’ was explained in his next letter: the statue was ‘by much the finest extant for beauty, as well as preservation and I send it to you not as a fine statue but as an excellent Cameo & as such I beg you would preserve it, by putting it in a case lined with black velvet, so as to open on those occasions you might want to enjoy it’ (TY 7/610, dated 27 May 1776). This advice Townley ignored. Hamilton charged Townley £60 for the statue, and it appears at this figure in TY 10/3 (fo. 36) and in the third priced list (TY 10/5), although in the first two priced lists (TY 10/6-7), the price is given as £80. The error perhaps arose because the head of Jupiter Serapis (1805,0703.51), which cost £20, was shipped with the Cupid for a total of £84 including £4 for shipping charges at Rome and Leghorn (TY 7/610).
Imperial copy of bronze of 2nd ½ IV BC, which may have been the statue by Lysippos in sanctuary of Eros at Thespiae (Johnson).
* Townley drawings 2010,5006.1 (attributed to Brown, by Duncan Bull), 2010,5006.18 and 2010,5006.117;
* Zoffany: B. F. Cook, `The Townley Marbles in Westminster and Bloomsbury’, The British Museum Yearbook, 2 (1977), 36-37, figs. 19-20, no. 10.
- Synopsis of the Contents of the British Museum (1808), VI.31;
- Ancient Marbles of the British Museum, X, pl. 21;
- A Guide to the Graeco-Roman Sculptures in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, 2 vols. (London, 1874  and 1876), I, no. 146;
- A. H. Smith, A Catalogue of Sculpture in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum, Vol. III (London 1904), 64-5, no. 1673;
- F. P. Johnson, Lysippos (Durham, N.C., 1927), 106, no. 23, pl. 17;
- D. Arnold, Die Polykletnachfolge. Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Ergänzungsheft 25 (Berlin, 1969), 263 ff. (discussion of type);
- E. Lessing and W. Oberleitner, Ephesos: Weltstadt der Antike (Vienna and Heidelberg, 1978), 265 (ref to type, no ill.);
- P. Moreno, ‘Iconografia Lisippea delle imprese di Eracle’, MEFRA 96 (1984), 147, fig. 25, and 152, note 46 (bibliography of the type);
- B. F. Cook, The Townley Marbles (London, 1985), 29-30, fig. 29;
- T. Potts, Civilization: Ancient Treasures from the British Museum (Exhibition Catalogue, Canberra/Melbourne, 1990), 158-9, no. 82.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1990, 24 Mar-10 Jun, Australia, Canberra, National Gallery of Australia, Civilization: Ancient Treasures from the British Museum, cat. no.82
1990, 28 Jun-23 Sep, Australia, Melbourne, Museum of Victoria, Civilization: Ancient Treasures from the British Museum, cat. no.82
2008, 1 May-12 Jul, Shanghai, The Ancient Olympic Games
2008, 2 Aug-31 Sep, Hong Kong, The Ancient Olympic Games
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
2011, 11 Mar-12 Jun, Kobe City Museum, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought
2011, 4 July-25 Sept, Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought
2011-2012, 25 Oct-12 February, Mexico City, National Anthropological Museum, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought
2012-2013, 6 Oct-6 January, Portland Art Museum, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought
2013, 6 Oct-6 May–6 Oct, 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