LONDON - Among the works offered on 9 July from the historic houses of the Dukes of Northumberland at Alnwick Castle and Syon House is a Roman marble statue of Aphrodite from the 1st century A.D.
Imperial, circa early 1st Century A.D.
The earliest of the seventeen works in the forthcoming Treasures sale, this figure of Aphrodite is one of only two extant examples of this type preserved with an original head. For almost a century, scholars assumed that the example housed at Syon Park was found headless and fitted with a modern head in the 18th century. However, last year the statue’s original head was discovered by Sotheby’s Antiquities specialists. In addition to being one of the most complete examples, it is also one of the finest Roman replicas of a now lost Greek original, dating to the second half of the 5th century B.C.
The figure was first recorded in the late 16th century in the Cesi Collection, one of the most important collections in Rome at that time. In an engraving published in 1585, the statue is identified as Agrippina. It was acquired by the 1st Duke of Northumberland in 1773, most probably from the collection of James and Robert Adam. This statue was installed with three others, another female and two males, on pedestals on either side of the Great Hall of Syon House, designed by Robert Adam.