The Tiber Apollo is usually considered to be a Roman copy of an early Classical Greek original and it certainly has the dignity, relaxed muscularity and downturned head favoured by many Roman Emperors in their patronage of art. Stylistic analysis is hampered by the poor condition of the sculpture as it was in many incomplete pieces when found at the bottom of the River Tiber in 1885. The turn of the head and the angle of the left shoulder suggest he held something in his left hand; if it is Apollo, perhaps a laurel branch or a bow. It is conserved in the Museo Nazionale Romano in Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome.
Throughout the early period of the nineteenth century the ‘Grand Tour’ was becoming popular among young nobles. Many young men (and later, young women) were travelling to Italy and Greece seeing the marvels of classical design for themselves and becoming inspired to bring that same sense of classical style and proportion back to Britain. Visit Europe today and you are likely to come home with tasteless souvenirs whereas in the 18th century, the great age of the large and imposing country house, folk returned and transformed the decor and furnishings of their families’ country seats with their acquisitions with many became insatiable collectors.
A bronze of rare large proportions for its type, with a stunning patina.