MARBLE MALE HEAD
ALEXANDRIAN, THIRD-SECOND CENTURY B.C.
Probably a portrait, originally embedded in another material, probably stucco.
Height 12.7 cm.
Lord Clark of Saltwood (1903-83), Kent: Sotheby’s, London, 27 June 1984, lot 122
European private collection, 1984-2018
Pinacothèque de Paris, 10 April-7 September 2014
Le Mythe de Cleopatre, exhibition catalogue, Paris, 2014, p. 46, no. 12
Kenneth Clark, later Lord Clark of Saltwood, bought a number of antiquities but unfortunately no records survive; it would seem, however, that most of his acquisitions were made during the 1920-30s and certainly before his move to Saltwood Castle in 1953. See C. Stephens and J-P. Stonard (ed.), Kenneth Clark. Looking for Civilisation, exhibition catalogue, London, 2014.This head was evidently a particular favourite as it sat on his desk, both at his house in Hampstead and at Saltwood Castle in Kent.
Hellenistic sculpture from Alexandria is distinctive, often with a smooth almost polished surface and idealistic quality. In some cases, it would have been combined with another material, such as limestone, stucco or wood, to create the hair, beard and bodies. Cf. R.R.R. Smith, Hellenistic Sculpture, London, 1991, pp. 205-211.