2. Petworth House

Housed today in the Little Dining Room (formerly known as the 'Van Dyck room') of the National Trust owned Petworth House in West Sussex, England, Statue number 55, a full figure of a young togate male (Figure 1), is often overlooked in comparison with the property's other art treasures such as the 'head of Aphrodite' attributed to Praxiteles (Vermeule 1977, 341; Jackson-Stops 1978, 23), a Greek sculptor of the 4th century BC.

Figure 1
Figure 1: Frontal view of Statue 55 housed in the Little Dining Room of Petworth House, West Sussex, England (Photograph: Miles Russell)

The National Trust catalogue of sculpture for Petworth observes that Statue 55, described simply as 'a Roman in a toga' from 'the first half of the first century', appears to be a composite with part of an 'alien head' (Jackson-Stops 1978, 48). Recent analysis of the statue has demonstrated that the head and body are indeed composed of slightly different varieties of Carrara Marble, being connected by means of a modern neck (Raeder 2000, 203). It is, however, unknown whether the two elements of the statue were originally intended to be seen together, for heads were often created independently of bodies in Roman portraiture (Stewart 2003, 47-59), or, what is probably more likely, whether the two were only brought together within the last two and a half centuries at Petworth for the purpose of display.