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Cast of a Roman bust of Lucius Septimius Geta (189-211 AD)

Plaster cast

Museum number: L107

Curatorial note

This cast, along with that of Plautilla L106, is after an antique marble sculpture of the third century AD in the Grand Ducal Gallery at the Uffizi in Florence. Although the 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. Geta was the younger son of the Emperor Septimius Severus and served briefly as Governor of Britain at York. He was murdered by Caracalla in February 211 AD, probably because he was perceived as a dangerous rival.

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