Ince Blundell Roman sculpture collection

Ince Blundell collections

About this collection

Please note this collection is not on display.

Henry Blundell’s collection of sculpture includes important works of Roman sculpture from mainly the 1st and 2nd century AD.

This collection is relevant to British 18th century collecting practices and tells the fascinating story of 18th century restorers and artists. It is also one of the few unique collections which has been retained in its entirety and not dispersed among different private collectors and institutions.

Henry Blundell ( 1724-1810 ) came from a wealthy Catholic family of Lancashire. He was educated in Classics in France and was also a close friend of the famous antiquarian Charles Townley ( 1737-1805 ), whose collection can be found in the British Museum. Blundell and Townley’s Grand Tour to Rome and Naples in 1776 was an opportunity for him to be introduced to the vibrant scene of antique dealers, artists and other collectors in Italy at the time. When the market for Italian antiquities had dried out by the close of 18th century, Blundell purchased works from auctions of important British collections such as the one of Lord Bessborough and Lord Cawdor.

Henry Blundell displayed the sculpture in his purpose built home at Ince Blundell Hall (below).

Henry Blundell's pantheon

He also built a Garden Temple and later on a small version of the Roman Pantheon. Blundell published An Account of the sculpture as early as in 1803, explaining the provenance of individual pieces as far as he knew it or was told it by the dealers and discussing the gods and personalities represented. Although in many cases he misidentified gods or goddesses in his Account, his personal taste and fascination for certain pieces is particularly interesting. In 1809-10 he also produced two volumes of engravings of the best 150 pieces from his collection.

Explore related


  • A Catalogue of the Ancient Marbles at Ince Blundell Hall

    Ashmole, Bernard

    Author: Ashmole, Bernard
    Publisher: Clarendon Press
    Date: 1929
    Description: An illustrated catalogue of the ancient sculptures collected by Henry Blundell and formerly at Ince Blundell Hall.

  • A rejoicing virtuoso? Henry Blundell and his Sculpture Collection

    Southworth, E C

    Author: Southworth, E C
    Publisher: Philipp von Zabern
    Date: 2000

  • A Selection from the Ince Blundell Hall Marbles

    Publisher: Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
    Date: 1961

  • Ägypten Griechenland Rom. Abwehr und Berührung

    Beck, Herbert; Bol, Peter; Bückling, Maraike (editors)

    Author: Beck, Herbert; Bol, Peter; Bückling, Maraike (editors)
    Publisher: Wasmuth Verlag
    Date: 2005
    Description: Catalogue of the exhibition "Egypt, Greece and Rome: Defense and Contact", 26 November 2005 - 26 February 2006.

  • An Account of the Statues, Busts, Bass Relieves, Cinerary Urns, and other ancient marbles, and paintings at Ince. Collected by H.B.

    Blundell, Henry

    Author: Blundell, Henry
    Date: 1803

See all publications


  • Praxiteles: The Cleveland Apollo

    Start date: 2013-09-29
    End date: 2013-09-29
    Description: The Cleveland Museum of Art's ancient bronze sculpture Apollo the Python-Slayer from about 350 BC is the subject of a focus exhibition in 2013. The Apollo is the only surviving bronze version of this famous sculptural type described by the first-century Roman author Pliny the Elder. The exhibition and accompanying book will examine the famous sculpture from a number of perspectives—from its technical features and iconography to its importance for understanding the legacy of Praxiteles.

  • Sale of Lord Bessborough's collection

    Start date: 1801-04-07
    End date: 1801-04-07
    Description: Sale of the Bessborough family's collection of classical sculpture housed in Parkstead House, Roehampton, in April 1804. Although the sale was conducted by Christie's, the sale took place at Roehampton.

  • Sale of the effects of 1st Baron Cawdor

    Start date: 1800-06
    End date: 1800-06
    Description: Sale of the effects of John Campbell, 1st Baron Cawdor, in London.

  • Sale of the effects of 1st Baron Mendip

    Start date: 1802-05-18
    End date: 1802-05-18
    Description: Sale of the effects of Wellbore Ellis, 1st Baron Mendip, held at Christie's in London.


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