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  • image M1028

Bust of a young man of the Antonine period

138-192 AD

Pentelic marble

Height: 58cm

Museum number: M1028

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 411help-vermeule-catalogue-number

On display: Sepulchral Chamber
All spaces are in No. 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields unless identified as in No. 12, Soane's first house. For tours https://www.soane.org/your-visit

Curatorial note

This short-bearded younger man with luxuriant, curly, locks has his right hand within the fold of the himation which he wears loosely over his chiton and, as Poulsen comments, 'produces an animated impression owing to the lively turn of the head and the slightly open mouth'.1 The material is Attic mainland marble and certainly does not indicate a Romano-British origin for this bust. Instead, the energy and spirituality which he radiates seem the characteristics of an Athenian intellectual of the early Antonine period. The best comparison among Graeco-Roman portraits of definite western European provenance is the Hadrianic or slightly later portrait of a man found c.1950 during the excavation of a Roman town near the Apostelnkirche in West Cologne.2

Another himation-clad bust of a man with rich, curly hair and short beard seems to come from the same atelier as this bust and Soane bust M1029 (Vermeule 412). At the time Cornelius Vermeule compiled his catalogue of the Soane Museum antiquities he noted that it had been brought many years ago from Beirut and was in a private collection in North America [Vermeule included an image of it in his unpublished typescript Catalogue of the Antiquities in Sir John Soane's Museum: this illustration will be added to this online catalogue in due course].

1 Poulsen, Greek and Roman Portraits in English Country Houses, Oxford 1923, p. 95.
2 H. von Petrikovits, under 'Archaeological News ... Roman and Medieval periods' in American Journal of Archaeology, 55, October 1951, pp. 377-79, illustrates this bust pl.47B (p.378) and describes it as a 'good piece of the Hadrianic period although the subject is unknown'.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Unrecorded. Vermeule considered 'there seems every external indication that Vermeule 410-413 (M517; M1028, M1029 and M1026) entered the collection from a common (antique?) source.


F. Poulsen, Greek and Roman Portraits in English Country Houses, trans. G.C. Richards, Oxford, 1923, p. 95, no. 82.

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