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image S128

STATUETTE OF MERCURY

Roman work of the Imperial Second and Third Centuries

Height: 7.5cm

Museum number: S128

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 437help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

A small figure of Mercury in running pose; he wears his winged cap (petasos) and is nude save for a cloak about his shoulders which is fastened on the chest with a brooch. He holds a purse in the outstretched right hand and probably held the herald's staff attached separately in the left.

Secondary Roman work of the Imperial Second and Third Centuries when Mercury with the purse of commercial prosperity was a popular figure in Roman art, these bronzes have been widely found throughout the Western Provinces. A comparable figure in the Cassel Gallery is termed secondary Roman work1 and there are further parallels in the Louvre2, the Bibliothèque Nationale3, St. Germain-en-Laye4 and from other locations in Roman Gaul5.

1Bieber, Cassel, p. 63, no. 162 pl. XLII.
2Reinach. RS, II, p. 158, no. 9, p. 160, no.1.
3Babelon-Blanchet, Bronzes, nos. 319, 326.
4Reinach, Bronzes, no.60.
5e.g. Marseillies, RS, II, p. 161, no. 5; La Marne, p. 161, no. 6 etc.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Given to Sir John Soane by Maria Cosway as an ensemble with three other figures.

Literature

Stephen Lloyd, Richard and Maria Cosway: Regency Artists of Taste and Fashion, exhibition catalogue, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh and National Portrait Gallery, London 1995, catalogue no 258.

Exhibition history

Richard and Maria Cosway: Regency Artists of Taste and Fashion, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, 11 August - 29 October 1995; National Portrait Gallery, London, 17 November 1995 - 18 February 1996


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