Marble bust of Aristophanes sold for £96,000 by auction in Stansted

PUBLISHED: 14:08 18 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:42 18 September 2019

The bust that sold for £96,000

The bust that sold for £96,000

Archant

A bust, initially thought to be of a Roman emperor, made £96,000 when it was sold by auctioneers Sworders in Stansted.

A bust, initally thought to be of a Roman emperor, made £96,000 when it was sold by auctioneers Sworders in Stansted.

The buyer, who travelled to Sworders to bid in person, believed it was actually the head of the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes, known as the father of comedy. His dates are 446 to 386 BC. Some 11 of his 40 plays survive, including the comedy Lysistrata, where women refuse to sleep with their husbands until the men end a war.

The Italian marble bust attracted 10 phone bidders. The 52cm work had many signs of repair but was of obvious quality, said Sworders. It came from Glenthorne House which once belonged to the Halliday family in Devon. It was catalogued as from the 17th century but some experts viewing it thought it could even be Roman from the third century.

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Also in the sale, a 68cm high Roman white marble torso of a child wearing a one-shouldered toga from the 2nd or 3rd century AD, came from a private collection. It sold for £6,200.

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