Collection online

portrait head

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Marble portrait head from a statue of Antinous (as Dionysus?) wearing a wreath of ivy. The bust is modern.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 130-140 (circa)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 81 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Opper 2008

    Clairmont (1966), no. 37; Meyer (1991), pp. 52-3 cat. no. I, 31.Cook 2013, nr. 94:
    Townley's description; ‘A head, larger than life, of Antinous, Deified in the character of Bacchus, being crowned with a wreath of ivy’ (TY 12/3, park drawing room 9).
    The head is first mentioned in a bill from Jenkins dated 12 July 1773 (TY 8/74/9). Jenkins comments that it is ‘to be received from the Duke of Dorset’. In Townley’s later documents there is no mention of the Duke, and the head is reported to have been found in 1770 in grounds known as the Tenuta della Tedesca, near the Villa Pamphili, re-used in post-classical times with fragments of the statue to which the head belonged in a wall that ran under the road to Palo from the gate of San Pancrazio (The first Townley inventory; 1786 Transcript, fo. 18; 'L' catalogue; Notes ion the disposition of marbles in CT's house, fo. 21v). In Devay Catalogue Townley adds that the head was exchanged for the statue of Pan and Apollo bought from Pacilli (Cook 2011, nr. 30*, ex-Townley collection, now in Petworth). The latter statement at least is certainly incorrect, the statue having been exchanged for three other items. It might be thought that the supposed find spot was equally mistaken, derived in some way from that of the Diana (1805.7-3.12 (Sculpture 1558)), were it not for the corroborative detail in the description of the wall in which the fragments of the associated statue were reused.
    Bought from Jenkins for £150 (TY 8/74/9, the figure confirmed in TY 10/2, fo. 24r; TY 10/5-7; 'Union Catalogue', fo. 15r). There seems to be no record of the bust in the shipping documents, but Jenkins wrote to Townley on 15 June 1774 that he was glad Townley liked the Antinous (TY 7/334). This seems to confirm that the head was already in England in the possession of the Duke of Dorset when Townley acquired it.

    * Townley drawing 2010,5006.137, attributed to Pacetti [I. D. Jenkins].

    Date and Identification:
    Label: ca. 130-40; Parian (Meyer).

    - Synopsis of the Contents of the British Museum (1808) X.83.
    - Ancient Marbles of the British Museum, XI, pl. 25.
    - A Guide to the Graeco-Roman Sculptures in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities (Synopsis of the Contents of the British Museum) (2 vols., London 1874 [2nd ed. 1879] and 1876), I, no. 20.
    - A. H. Smith, A Catalogue of Sculpture in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum, Vol. III (London 1904), 158-9, no. 1899.
    - H. Meyer, Antinoos (Munich 1991), 52-3, no. I 31 (bibl.), pl. 33.


  • Bibliography

    • Opper 2008 136 bibliographic details
    • Sculpture 1899 bibliographic details
    • Parkinson 2013 pp. 54-5 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G70

  • Exhibition history


    2005, 11 Apr-10 Jul, Seoul Arts Centre, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2005, 25 Jul-8 Oct, Busan Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2005-2006, 27 Oct-31 Jan, Haengso Museum, Keimyung University, Daegu, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2006, 18 Mar-4 Jun, Beijing, Capital Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2007, 3 Feb-27 May, Taipei, National Palace Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2007, 14 Sep-2 Dec, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2008, 24 Jul-26 Aug, London, BM, 'Hadrian: Empire and Conflict'
    2012, 4Apr-4 Nov, Villa Adriana, Tivoli, Italy, 'Antinous - The Allure of Beauty'

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Greek & Roman Antiquities

  • Registration number


Marble portrait head from a statue of Antinous wearing a wreath of ivy. The bust is modern.

Marble portrait head from a statue of Antinous wearing a wreath of ivy. The bust is modern.

Image description



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