3. Wilton House

Carved from a fine-grained white marble, 'Michaelis no. 202' (Figure 8) is one of the many classical sculptures preserved within the cloisters of Wilton House in Wiltshire, southern England. Today the bust is in rather poor shape, the back of the head, ears, nose and chin all having been restored in marble, the upper lip and other patches around the face and right cheek being filled less convincingly with plaster.

Figure 8a Figure 8b
Figure 8: Portrait of Michaelis no. 202 housed in the East Cloister of Wilton House in Wiltshire, southern England, showing areas of ancient survival, damage, plaster infill on the cheek and lips and marble replacement to the nose, chin, ear and neck. (a): full three-quarter view; (b): left profile (Photograph: Miles Russell)

The portrait has, as with a number of busts at Wilton, been set into an ornate 17th-century base, inlaid with coloured marble, for the purposes of display. The chest has, at some point, been engraved with the name 'CONSTANTINVS MAGNVS'. A small metal tag affixed to the left-hand side of this name reads simply, and in contradiction to the stated identification of Constantine the Great, 'Roman second century'.