Ancient Sculpture and Works of Art

Ancient Sculpture and Works of Art


Property of Galerie Arete, Hans Humbel


Auction Closed

July 2, 04:42 PM GMT


400,000 - 600,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property of Galerie Arete, Hans Humbel


standing with the weight on her left leg, raising her right arm, and grasping her garment with her left hand below the breast, and wearing sandals, tunic, and mantle draped around the body and drawn up over the head as a veil, her head turned slightly to her right, her wavy hair parted in the centre and surmounted by a diadem decorated with leaves, the strand of an infula falling onto her left shoulder; head belonging; restored are: nose, hair above left forehead, most of wreath incl. whole diadem, parts of veil adjacent to neck, crown of head, and nape of neck, right arm, left arm with adjacent drapery, right breast, right knee, and numerous bits of drapery folds; right toes formerly restored.

Total height 212 cm.; height without plinth 202 cm.

Palazzo Picchini, Rome, 1640s

Stowe House, Buckinghamshire, South Portico (Loggia), by 1777, probably acquired in 1774 in Rome by George Grenville for his uncle, Richard Grenville, 2nd Lord Temple (Christie, Manson, and Woods, Contents of Stowe House, October 3rd, 1848, no. 18, as "Agrippina, the Muse of History")

William Lowther (1787-1872), 2nd Earl of Lonsdale, Sculpture Gallery, Lowther Castle, Penrith, Cumberland, probably acquired at the above sale through the buyer of record, A. Robertson, Esq., Surrey

by descent to Lancelot Lowther (1867-1953), 6th Earl of Lonsdale (Maple & Co., Ltd., and Thomas Wyatt, Penrith, Cumberland, Lowther Castle, near Penrith, Cumberland. The Major Part of the Earl of Lonsdale's Collection, April 29th-May 1st, 1947, no. 2284, as "Agrippina")

English private collection, Cumbria, acquired in 1957 from Lowther Castle

English private collection, by descent (Christie’s, London, April 15th, 2015, no. 122, illus., as "The Stowe Livia")

acquired at the above sale by the present owner


Bernard de Montfaucon, L’antiquité expliquée, vol. II.1, Paris, 1722, pl. 3, reproducing Le Brun's drawing (

Stowe. A Description of the magnificent House and Gardens of the right honourable Richard Grenville Temple, Earl Temple, Viscount and Baron Cobham, Buckingham, 1777, p. 34 ("Agrippina")

Edward Wedlake Brayley and John Britton, The Beauties of England and Wales, vol. 1, London, 1801, p. 301

George Alexander Cooke, Topography of Great Britain, vol. 12, London, s.a. [ca. 1820], p. 49

Stowe. A Description of the House and Gardens of the most noble Richard Grenville Nugent Chandos Temple, Duke of Bucking­ham & Chandos, Buckingham, 1832, p. 36 (

George Lipscomb, The history and antiquities of the County of Buckingham, vol. 3, London, 1847, p. 88

Henry Rumsey Forster, The Stowe Catalogue priced and annotated, London, 1848, p. 264, no. 18 (

S. C. Hall and Llewellynn Jewitt, "The stately homes of England (occasionally open to the public). Lowther Castle," The Art Journal, vol. 2, 1876, p. 360, illus. (

Ancient sculpture in the collection of Lord Lonsdale at Lowther Castle, Penrith, s.a. [ca. 1870], p. 7 ("Agrippina as the Muse of History, from the Stowe collection")

Frederik Poulsen, in: Paul Arndt and Georg Lippold, eds., Photographische Einzelaufnahmen antiker Sculpturen, series 11, Munich, 1929, nos. 3088–3090, illus. (

Cornelius Vermeule and Dietrich von Bothmer, "Notes on a New Edition of Michaelis: Ancient Marbles in Great Britain. Part Three. 2," American Journal of Archaeology, vol. 63, 1959, p. 334

Walter H. Gross, Iulia Augusta. Untersuchungen zur Grundlegung einer Livia-Ikonographie, Göttingen, 1962, p. 121, note 36

Heinrich Bartels, Studien zum Frauenporträt der augusteischen Zeit. Fulvia, Octavia, Livia, Julia, Munich, 1963, p. 60

Helga v. Heintze, "Review of Gross op. cit.," American Journal of Archaeology, vol. 68, 1964, p. 320, no. 17

Klaus Fittschen and Paul Zanker, Katalog der römischen Porträts in den Capitolinischen Museen, vol. 3, Mainz, 1983, p. 4, note 9

Rolf Winkes, Livia, Octavia, Iulia. Porträts und Darstellungen, Louvain-la-Neuve, 1995, p. 129, no. 53, illus.

Elizabeth Bartman, Portraits of Livia, Cambridge, 1999, p. 162, no. 38, fig. 144

Brendan Cassidy, "Gavin Hamilton, Thomas Pitt and Statues for Stowe," The Burlington Magazine, vol. 146, 2004, p. 808, note 27

Anna M. Riccomini, "Le vedute romane di Jan Blom e la Laurea Garimberti," Quaderni di Archeologia del Piemonte, vol. 2, 2018, p. 117, note 17


-Charles Le Brun, drawing, between 1642-1645 (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France. Département des manuscrits, fonds français, no. 17217, fol. 25): Stéphane Loire, "Charles Le Brun à Rome (1642-1645)," Gazette des beaux-arts, vol. 136, 2000, p. 88, fol. 16, illus.; Riccomini, op. cit., p. 112, fig. 8 (

-anonymous drawing, inscribed "Roma 1677" (Doré & Giraud, Paris, November 13th, 2017, no. 63:

-Jan Blom (1622-1685), painting, oil on canvas, showing a statue after Le Brun's drawing (Innsbruck, Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum): Riccomini, op. cit., 2018, p. 112, fig. 7

-Étienne Parrocel (1696-1776), drawing with pentimento of the right arm and note "al palazzo Picchini" (Musée du Louvre, Département des arts graphiques, RF 3729, 267) (

-anonymous drawing: Montauban, Musée Ingres, acquired 1867, MIC.9.26.D, from the collection of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (

The statuary type of the body is known from another copy in Rome, church of S. Omobono: W. Geominy, in: P. Bol, ed., Die Geschichte der antiken Bildhauerkunst, vol. 3, 2007, p. 53f., fig. 66. The Greek original dates to the early Hellenistic period. For a similar portrait head of Livia see Sotheby's, London, June 13th, 2016, no. 57.

The present statue depicts the empress as a priestess: she wears an infula, a strand of which can be seen falling alongside the left side of her neck. The infula was a twisted woollen headband worn by Roman priests on ritual occasions.

The Palazzo Picchini (or Pighini) is located between the Piazza Farnese and the Campo de’ Fiori. In 1770 Pope Clement XIV acquired three famous ancient marbles from the palazzo, now in the Vatican: the statue of Meleager, a male draped torso, and the statue of a mastiff: W. Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, vol. 2, 1908, nos. 5, 10, 64. In 1776 a statue of Aphrodite from Palazzo Picchini was reported to be with the dealer Thomas Jenkins: I. Bignamini and C. Hornsby, eds., Digging and Dealing in Eighteenth-Century Rome. Letters, 2010, p. 86. These statues are known to have been in the collection of the Fusconi, the previous owners of the Palazzo Picchini (for the ownership history of the Palazzo see A. Michaelis, Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, vol. 7, 1892, p. 99). However, an inventory of the Fusconi collection from 1593 (publ. by R. Lanciani, Storia degli scavi di Roma, vol. 2, 1903, p. 90f.) bears no mention of a statue which could be identified with the present one.

A statue of Lucius Verus that once stood together with the present lot in the South Portico at Stowe House, and later in the Sculpture gallery at Lowther Castle, was sold at Sotheby, New York, June 5th, 2013, lot 51.