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  • Place of origin:

    Rome (made)

  • Date:

    1786 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Canova, Antonio, born 1757 - died 1822 (sculptors)

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 22, The Dorothy and Michael Hintze Galleries, case WS

The identity of the sitter remains unknown, but the fact that it is signed by Canova suggests it was a work of some note. It may have been a portrait of a friend of the sculptor, and was perhaps intended to form part of a larger sepulchral monument. On acquisition, it was thought this relief may have depicted Julius Caesar. However, later study of the relief ruled out this suggestion, as the portrait is not related to any known depictions of the Emperor.

Physical description

Relief in mable of the head of a unknown man. A loose drapery round the shoulders.

Place of Origin

Rome (made)


1786 (made)


Canova, Antonio, born 1757 - died 1822 (sculptors)

Marks and inscriptions



Height: 52.5 cm, Width: 42 cm

Descriptive line

Portrait of an unidentified man, marble. Italian 1786.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Maclagan, Eric and Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture. London, 1932. p. 167.
Pope-Hennessy, John. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: HMSO, 1964. cat. no. 703. fig. no. 697.
Hughes, P. Catalogue of Furniture. The Wallace Collection. I. London, 1996. Introduction, fig. 4.
Cook, R., Martin, G. Preliminary investigation into discolourations occuring in white marble. Recent advances in the conservation and analysis of artifacts: University of London Institute of Archarology Jubilee conservation conference. July 1987. pp. 359-364.
Pavanello, G. L'opera completa del Canova. Milan, 1976. p. 95. cat. 45. ill. on p. 94.
Cf. Watson, F. J. B. Lord Hertford and the Musée Retrospectif of 1865. Apollo. 81. 1965. p. 437.



Subjects depicted



Sculpture; Portraits; Reliefs


Sculpture Collection

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