- Museum number
Green basanite bust of the god Zeus Serapis. The modius is decorated with sprigs of myrtle.
- Production date
Height: 41 centimetres
Width: 18 centimetres
Depth: 13 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Cook 2013, nr. 324:
Townley's description; ‘A Head, size of small=life, of Jupiter Serapis, with laurel branches and berries, marked upon the Modius. It is in the kind of marble, called by the Italians Parragone assoluto, or touch=stone; it was brought to Sir Robert Ainslie, whilst he was Embassador at Constantinople, and was said to have been found [blank]’ (1804 Parlour Catalogue, library 33).
Bought by Townley from Ainslie in March 1804. Townley’s diary records the transaction: on 22 March, Ainslie accepted Richard Payne Knight’s valuation. On 24 March, Townley collected £30 from his banker, which Knight took to Ainslie on 25 March (TY 1/20).
Augustus – late Trajan (Hornbostel); I or beginning of II AD (Pasqua).
- Synopsis of the Contents of the British Museum (1808), VI.74;
- A Guide to the Graeco-Roman Sculptures in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, 2 vols. (London, 1874  and 1876), I, no. 100;
- A. H. Smith, A Catalogue of Sculpture in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum, Vol. III (London 1904), 4-5, no. 1526, fig. 2;
- W. Hornbostel, Sarapis. Studien zur Überlieferungsgeschichte den
Erscheinungsformen und Wandlungen der Gestalt eines Gottes. EPRO 32 (Leiden, 1973), 211, no. 10, fig. 157;
- B. Birquist, ‘A Head of Serapis’, Boreas 9 (Uppsala, 1978), 87-137, 100, no. 431;
- R. Belli Pasqua, Sculture de età romana in ‘basalto’. Xenia Antiqua Monografie 2 (Rome, 1995), 95-6, no. 48 (bibl.), pl. 52;
- R. Merkelbach, Isis regina – Zeus Sarapis (Stuttgart and Leipzig, 1995), 591, fig. 117.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2018 23 Feb – 22 Apr, Nashville, Frist Art Museum, 'Rome; City &Empire'
2018-2019 20 Sep-04 Feb, Canberra, National Museum of Australia, 'Rome; City &Empire'
2021 13 Feb-15 Aug, Belgium, Tongeren, Gallo-Romeins Museum, 'Rome; City & Empire'
2021-2022 Aug - Oct, China, Suzhou Museum, 'Rome; City & Empire'
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number