The Wilton House Apollo. A Roman marble head of Apollo. Circa late 1st-early 2nd century A.D. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd.
Depicted over-lifesized, with a smooth forehead, gently-arching brows that merge with the bridge of his slender nose, convex eyes with slight articulation of the pupils, and heavy upper lids that extend slightly beyond the lower at their outer canthi, the tear ducts naturalistically defined, his small mouth with the lips slightly parted, the philtrum tapering, his luscious wavy locks center parted and pulled up into a loose top-knot, the strands of hair defined by deep drill work and incising. 15 1/8 in. (38.4 cm.) high. Estimate $200,000 - $300,000. Price Realized $902,500
Provenance: Thomas Herbert, 8th Earl of Pembroke (1654-1732), Wilton House, Wiltshire.
Catalogue of A Selected Portion of the Collection of Ancient Marbles formed by Thomas 8th Earl of Pembroke (1654-1732) sold by direction of The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Pembroke; Christie's, London, 3 July 1961, lot 137.
Anonymous sale; Ars Antiqua, Luzern, Auktion IV, 1962, lot 52.
Private Collection, Los Angeles, 1983.
A. Michaelis, Ancient Marbles in Great Britain, Cambridge, 1882, no. 107.
E. Simon and G. Bauchhenss, "Apollon/Apollo," in LIMC, vol. II, Zurich and Munich, 1984, no. 56e.
Thomas Herbert, 8th Earl of Pembroke, (1654-1732), amassed one of the premier collections of ancient art, which he displayed at his stately home, Wilton House, in Wiltshire. A large part of his collection was acquired from the gallery of Arundel House when it was broken up in 1678. He was later able to acquire part of the Mazarin collection in Paris in the 1720s, much of which had been collected in Rome. Around the same time he bought individual pieces, including parts of the Giustiniani collection in Rome in 1720, and the Valletta collection in Naples, which was bought by an English doctor and then sold again, with the Earl buying part. Michaelis (op. cit., p. 691) suggests that this Apollo was from Mazarin collection. When Kennedy published his catalog of the collection in 1769, when Michaelis saw it in the 1870s, and when it was sold in 1961, the head was attached to a partially-draped bust.