18th Sep, 2021 10:30

The William Mowat-Thomson Collection

Lot 1204


with socle base and on a pink marble cylindrical column and square base, 186 cm high overall

Antinous was the male lover of the Roman Emperor Hadrian (AD76-138). In the Roman world, the concept of homosexuality was different to how it is understood today. Same-sex love found its precedent in Greek culture, in which relations between a younger and older man were seen as a valuable experience, and almost right of passage. In Rome there was no clear distinction between heterosexual and homosexual love, and the relationship between Hadrian and Antinous, the Grecian youth from the city of Bythinion-Claudiopolis in modern Turkey, must be viewed within this context.

Relatively little is known about Antinous' life, aside from the fact that Hadrian toured Asia Minor in AD 123 and may have been introduced to the young man during this time. Many theories have surrounded his death on the Nile, including forced suicide by jealous courtiers and ritual sacrifice, though Hadrian maintained it was an accident. Whatever the explanation behind his death, at 19 Antinous was becoming a man, and therefore his relationship with the Emperor was untenable. The effect of Antinous' death was profound. Hadrian established a city in Egypt Antinoopolis in his honour and even encouraged his veneration as a deity.
Provenance: The William Mowat-Thomson Collection


A condition report is offered as an indication of any issues visible to the naked eye. As none of our staff is a professional conservator or restorer, buyers must satisfy themselves in respect of condition. The condition report does not form part of any contract between McTear's and the buyer, and all lots are offered "as is" in accordance with our Terms of Business available on our website.


Sold for £13,000
Estimated at £1,500 - £2,000

Condition Report

Small chips to the outer upper edge - large chip to the base of this area. Chips to the top of the socle where the bust meets the base at the reverse.
The bust is approximately 67cm high excluding the column

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