Roman Aphrodite sculpture goes up for auction for the first time in 70 years

·2-min read
The Hamilton Aphrodite remained at Hamilton Palace, Scotland, until 1919.

It's a sculpture of Aphrodite that has stood the test of time. A marble statue of the Greek goddess, known as the Hamilton Aphrodite, will soon be auctioned off in a Sotheby's single-lot sale. This is the first time it has come to auction since 1949.

This 187 cm sculpture of the goddess of love dates back to the 1st or 2nd century AD. Douglas Hamilton, the 8th Duke of Hamilton, bought it from neoclassical painter and Scottish art dealer Gavin Hamilton, in Rome, in 1776. He then brought it with him to Scotland, where it remained at Hamilton Palace until 1919. What's more, this statue of Aphrodite "lays claim to being the finest single piece of ancient sculpture ever to have resided in Scotland," according to Sotheby's.

"The Duke of Hamilton is said to have fallen in love with Aphrodite the moment he first saw her, almost 250 years ago. I also fell under her spell the moment I laid my eyes on her, struck as I was by her subtle blend of earthly beauty and divine majesty," said Florent Heintz, head of Sotheby's Ancient Sculpture and Works of Art department.

Only two other such important statues of Aphrodite have been brought to the United Kingdom: the Barberini Venus, sold for £7.9 million (about $10.5 million) in London in 2002, and the Townley Venus, currently in the British Museum. Hamilton's Aphrodite will go under the hammer on December 7 at a dedicated single-lot sale in the English capital. It is estimated to fetch between £2 million and £3 million (around $2.7 to $4 million).

However, the bidding could go higher given the rarity of this type of Aphrodite sculpture on the market. It is the only complete statue of the deity, depicted naked, to be auctioned in the last two decades.

Before going under the hammer, Hamilton's Aphrodite will be on display in Sotheby's London galleries from December 3 to 7.

Caroline Drzewinski

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting