Friday, December 2, 2011

The object of the day: The head of the young boy

Head of the Young Boy, Ancient Rome
Date:225 c - 250 c

This marble head was collected in Rome c. 1776 by the Hon. J Smith Barry and taken to Marbury Hall in Cheshire. It was placed on top of a male body representing a Bacchic figure or a personification of the vintage, which is now also in Birmingham's collections. The head is certainly Roman but there is disagreement about it's exact date, from c.150 AD to c.250 AD. It is likely to be a portrait of a specific individual, but whether it represents an imperial prince or a member of a wealthy family is unknown.

Height:21.5 cm

Purchased at Sotheby's, 1961 by Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery


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  2. Some other Roman portraits, sold at Christie's on an auction in 1987, depict Emperor Antoninus Pius (up to $80,000), Emperor Marcus Aurelius (up to $96,000), Emperor Lucius Verus (up to $96,000) and Emperor Septimius Severus (up to $96,000) and there were all part of the collection of James Smith Barry from Marbury Hall. That might give us an idea of the value of this particular piece.


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