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Cast of a Roman bust of Publia Pulvia Plautilla (d.212 AD), plaster

Plaster cast

Museum number: L106

Curatorial note

This cast, along with that of Lucius Geta L107, is after an antique marble sculpture of the third century AD in the Grand Ducal Gallery at the Uffizi in Florence. Although the two original busts are similar in date and style and are displayed together in the Uffizi they were probably not designed as a pair.

Geta and Plautilla were both victims of the Emperor Caracalla. Plautilla was the daughter of Gaius Fulvius Plautianus, commander of the praetorian guard, who married Caracalla in 202 AD. Her father was executed after which she was banished by her husband, who arranged her murder shortly afterwards.

It is known that plaster moulds were taken of the two original busts (and two other statues) in the Uffizi by permission of their owner, Duke Cosimo III de' Medici (1642-1723) in 1721-22 in order for bronze casts to be made by the sculptor Cipriani. These were commissioned by the Englishman the Hon. George Parker for his father, the 1st Earl of Macclesfield, Thomas Parker, and intended for the Gallery he was constructing at Shirburn Castle, Oxfordshire. Permission for the casting was granted by Duke Cosimo on condition that the plaster moulds were not to remain in Florence, so that the original classical sculptures could not be widely reproduced. It seems likely that Soane's two busts were produced in England from these moulds, which do not survive today.

This bust is displayed at high level on the north wall of Soane's Dining Room (it is the right-hand bust in the in situ colour photograph accompanying this entry).


If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk