The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Bust of a Roman Emperor
  • French School , Model
  • French School, Model
    Workshop of Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751 - 1843), possibly
  • Bust of a Roman Emperor
  • France
  • late 18th century
  • Bust
  • Copper alloy, green granite, gilt-bronze mounts.
  • Height: 20.9 cm
  • S225
  • East Drawing Room
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • This bust and its companion (S224) were described as portraits of Caesar and Augustus in the catalogue of the Fould sale (1860) where they were purchased by the 4th Marquess.

    The clean-shaven, middle-aged men depicted, however, do not bear any resemblance to known portraits of either Caesar or Augustus, and might be representations of an idealised “type”, possibly an Emperor or a Poet, rather than of actual individuals.

    Although some have suggested that the character of these and other similar figures is more reminiscent of the seventeenth century, the facture, scale and alloy of our busts as well as the style of their mounts, clearly suggest a later execution.

    Similar small-scale bronze sculptures of decorative nature were widely produced in many French workshops of the late eighteenth century, particularly that of Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751–1843) who executed many casts after models by Antoine Houdon (1741–1828) for example.