Italian White Marble Bust of Sappho or Venus

8397 An Italian white marble bust of Sappho or Venus, after the antique, the hair tied up, partially draped in Roman style, on original marble socle. The hair showing old repairs in imitation of Ancient sculpture.





Height: 23 ins (58.5 cms)                                        £8,000


The subject of Sappho was popular by the late 17th century among English classicists, not only as a great lyric poet from around 600 BC but a female writer expressing love, family and love between women. As such, a bust of Sappho seemed suitable for inclusion in the great collections being formed in England during the 18th century.

The collection of Antique sculpture at Wilton House, formed by the 8th Earl of Pembroke, contained a bust of Sappho drawn by the long suffering William Stukely in 1722. This indicates that she was regarded as a relevant inclusion even at the turn of the 18th century, perhaps as much for the notoriety of her poetry as much as the fine quality of her work. Confusingly, the 8th Earl was known for his mis attribution of subjects, his references being mainly taken from profiles in his coin collection and this image may equally be an idealised Venus. The bust is no longer at Wilton, having been sold with many other sculptures in the 20th century.

Italian White Marble Bust of Sappho or Venus