Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Marble group of a nymph escaping from a satyr.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 2ndC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 770 millimetres
    • Width: 680 millimetres
    • Depth: 520 millimetres
    • Height: 76.2 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    One of several copies of a work of the 2nd or 1st century BC. Restored in the 18th century by the Italian sculptor Sposino.Cook 2013, no. 92:
    Townley's description; 'A Group of a Faun struggling with a Nymph, The size of small life, an action favourable to the display of exerted muscles, and graceful female shapes, in both which points the sculptor has shown great art and knowledge in the execution of this most spirited composition' (The first Townley inventory; statues 7).

    Found in the `Pianura di Cassio` near Tivoli by Domenico de Angelis (letter from Jenkins dated 4 March 1775, TY 7/345; cf. TY 12/3 and The first Townley inventory. The statement in TY 10/2 (fo. 24r) that the group was found in Hadrian`s Villa is evidently incorrect. In TY 10/8 Townley adds that the site was about a mile from Tivoli towards Palestrina. The date of discovery is variously given as 1772 (TY 12/3, TY 12/5, GR 1) or 1773 (TY 10/2, specifying April). The former seems to be correct since the case was paid for on 24 February 1773 (TY 8/4). He adds that he had the piece restored by Sposino.

    Included in a bill from Jenkins in July 1773 at £350 (TY 8/74/9; cf. TY 10/5-7; TY 12/1; TY 10/3, fo. 18; ST 1, fo. 15v).

    On 19 February 1774 Jenkins wrote to Townley: `I flatter myself that you can now say, you are in Possession of the finest Drapery figure and the finest Groupe in the Universe` (TY 7/327). The `drapery figure` in question is 1805.7-3.12 (Sculpture 1558).

    It was apparently intended at one time to display the group on the puteal 1805.7-3.227 (Sculpture 2541): Townley had them drawn together by Pacetti (payment of 7.20 Scudi for two drawings on 4 September 1773, TY 8/4; cf. Grand Tour 268, no. 225) and Jenkins remarked that the puteal would be suitable as a pedestal for the group (letter dated 16 February 1774, TY 7/326), but in practice the puteal was always recorded as being downstairs in Park Street, and the group upstairs, first in the park drawing room about 1778 (d`Hancarville mentioned the presence there of a group, without describing it in detail, TY 16/27), and from about 1781 in the library (TY 12/1).

    * Townley drawings 2010,5006.66; 78; 84; and 100, the last attributed to Pacetti by I. D. Jenkins (see Grand Tour 268, no. 225). The Pacetti drawing, commissioned while the group was still in Italy, shows the puteal 1805.7-3.227 (Sculpture 2541) serving as a pedestal.
    * Zoffany: B. F. Cook, `The Townley Marbles in Westminster and Bloomsbury`, The British Museum Yearbook, 2 (1977), 36-37, figs. 19-20, no. 19.

    Roman version of theme popular in Hellenistic period (Burn); after original of IInd century BC (Andreae); According to Neudecker there is no exact replica.

    -     In the British Museum the group was exhibited in 1808, but was apparently withdrawn before 1817, since it does not appear in the Synopsis for that year. When the Townley Register was compiled in 1848 it was annotated `not exhibited`. Omitted from A Description of the Collection of Ancient Marbles in the British Museum and A guide to the Graeco-Roman Sculptures in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, it was included in the Museum Secretum Register as no. 666.
    - Synopsis of the Contents of the British Museum (1808) VII.1.
    - A. H. Smith, A Catalogue of Sculpture in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum, Vol. III (London 1904), 59, no. 1658.
    - Ashby, Papers of the British School at Rome 6 (1913), 495, note 2.
    - C. Pietrangeli, Scavi e scoperti a Roma sotto il Pontificio di Pio Sesto (Rome 1958), no. 164
    - O. Palagia, `Les techniques de la sculpture grecque sur marbre` in D. Vanhove (ed.), Marbres helléniques de la carrière au chef d`oeuvre (Exhibition Catalogue, Brussels 1987), 81, fig. 4.
    - R. Neudecker, Die Skulpturenausstattung römischer Villen in Italien (Mainz am Rhein 1990), 232, no. 66.34.
    - LIMC,VIII, 895 s.v. Nymphai no. 52b*.
    - B. Andreae, Skulptur des Hellenismus (Munich 2001), 185, fig. 142, note 461 (bibl.).
    - Lucilla Burn, Hellenistic Art (London 2004), 170, fig. 98.


  • Bibliography

    • Sculpture 1658 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited: 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 2010-2011, 11 Mar-12 Jun, Kobe City Museum, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought 2011, 4 Jul-25 Sep, Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought 2011-2012, 25 Oct-12 Feb, Mexico City, National Anthropological Museum, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought 2012-2013 6 Oct-6 Jan, Portland Art Museum, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought 2013, 6May – 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.
    2015-2016, 4 Dec-3 July, National Museum of Singapore, ‘Treasures of the World’s Cultures’

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Greek & Roman Antiquities

  • Registration number



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