- Museum number
Draped marble bust of a female figure wearing a Persian headdress. The tiara is upright and covered with a veil that falls over the shoulders. The same garment appears to cover the chest and chin also. The head has been considered male, and identified as Paris or Adonis, but the hairstyle suggests a woman. Perhaps a personification of Persia or a generic representation of a Persian woman in a Greek style. The nose, neck and bust are restored.
- Production date
- AD 1 - 160
Height: 69.85 centimetres (original part)
Height: 82 centimetres (with modern bust)
Width: 36 centimetres
Depth: 28 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Cook 2013, nr. 297:
Townley's description; ‘A Head of Adonis covered with the pyramidal hood, and the lower part of the face and neck also covered with drapery. It formerly stood in the Villa of Pope Sixtus the fifth, called the Villa Montalto’ (1804 Parlour Catalogue, library 30). Townley usually referred to this head as ‘Adonis’, but in TY 12/9/1, it appears as ‘head with Phrygian hood’ (cf. Notes on the disposition of marbles in CT’s house, BM G&R Department). Smith regarded the head as female, suggesting that it might represent a personification of Persia.
Formerly in the Villa Negroni (Parlour Catalogue owned by Simon Townley, 1804 Parlour Catalogue).
Purchased from Barwell Browne in March 1795 for £42 (Wigan Accounts).
On 17 March 1796, Townley paid Barwell Browne, the son of Lyde Browne, £168 for a bust of Hadrian (1805,0703.94) and a ‘head of Adonis veiled’ (1805,0703.78), including £21 for carriage and duty from Leghorn. He also paid £8.8s. as a year’s interest (at 5%) on that amount from the previous March (Wigan Accounts).
* Townley drawings 2010,5006.140, annotated by Townley: ‘Sketched by Mr Skirving 1795’; 2010,5006.189, attributed to Chambers (I. D. Jenkins); and 2010,5006.202, annotated ‘A. Tendi del.’.
- Synopsis of the Contents of the British Museum (1808), X.1;
- Ancient Marbles of the British Museum, XI, pl. 12;
- A Guide to the Graeco-Roman Sculptures in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, 2 vols. (London, 1874  and 1876), I, no. 160;
- A. H. Smith, A Catalogue of Sculpture in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum, Vol. III (London 1904), 115, no. 1769.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2009, 1 May-20 Sep, Victoria, Royal BC Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2009-2010, 11 Dec-10 May, Madrid, Canal de Isabel II, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2012-2013, Nov-Apr, Bonn, Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, 'Treasures of the World's Cultures'.
Empire – Roman Power & People
2013-2014, 21 Sep-5 Jan, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery,Empire – Roman Power & People
2014, 25 Jan-27 Apr, Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Roman Power & People
2014, 17 May-31 Aug, The Herbert, Coventry,Empire – Roman Power & People 2014-2015, 20 Sep-4 Jan, Leeds City Museum, Empire – Roman Power & People
2015, 24 Jan-10 May, The McManus, Dundee, Empire – Roman Power & People
2015, 30 May-13 Sep, 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'
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