- Museum number
Marble head from a statue of Dionysos, mounted on a modern bust.
- Production date
Height: 65 centimetres
Width: 30 centimetres
Depth: 28 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Made in the style of the early 5th century BC.
Raeder (1983), p. 149.
Cook 2013, nr. 291:
Townley's description; ‘Terminus of a Bearded Bacchus in a very ancient style of Grecian sculpture, when the works in marble were executed in imitation of the hard and minute manner of the works in bronze. It was found 1790 in the grounds, formerly belonging to the count Fede, but now to the Marefoschi family, situated within the precincts of Hadrian’s Villa, along with the Discobolus in this collection, and other valuable marbles’ (1804 Parlour Catalogue, street drawing room 23).
Found in Hadrian’s Villa (TY 7/511, where the head is seemingly to be identified with the ‘Plato Egyptian’ listed by Jenkins). On 22 January 1791, Jenkins wrote to Townley that new excavations had been undertaken at Hadrian’s Villa by the Pope’s nephew (TY 7/505). The finds were brought to Rome, and on 11 January 1792, Jenkins wrote that he had been the highest bidder at the sale (TY 7/511). Townley acquired three items: the base of a candelabrum, a head of Bacchus, and the Discobolus.
In his next letter (TY 7/512, 3 March 1792), Jenkins offered the ‘Head of what Visconti calls Indian Bacchus’ at first at £40, but then in a postscript dated 7 March adjusted to £35. The total for this head and the candelabrum base (1805,0703.223) remained the same. The account was settled on 27 March 1793 (Wigan Accounts). Notwithstanding the adjustment in the price, the head is probably to be identified with ‘A Head of Bacchus early Greek Jenkins £40’ in the addenda to TY 10/6.
* Townley drawing 2010,5006.187, attributed to Chambers (I. D. Jenkins).
- Synopsis of the Contents of the British Museum (1808), III.19;
- Specimens of Ancient Sculpture. Selected from Different Collections in Great Britain, by the Society of Dilettanti (London, 1809-1835), I, pl. 8;
- Ancient Marbles of the British Museum, II, pl. 19;
- A. H. Smith, A Catalogue of Sculpture in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum, Vol. III (London 1904), 44, no. 1612.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2008, 24 Jul-26 Aug, London, BM, 'Hadrian: Empire and Conflict'
2013-2014, 21 Sept-5 Jan, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Empire – Roman Power & People
2014, 25 Jan-27 April, Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Empire – Roman Power & People
2014, 17 May-31 Aug, Coventry, The Herbert, Empire – Roman Power & People
2014-2015, 20 Sept-4 Jan, Leeds City Museum, Empire – Roman Power & People
2015, 24 Jan-10 May, Dundee, The McManus, Empire – Roman Power & People
2015, 30 May-13 Sept, Newcastle, Segedunum Roman Fort, Empire – Roman Power & People
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'
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number