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Large Celtic or Gallo-Roman bronze figure of an orator, Circa 1st Century B.C./A.D

Conservation:  Damaged / missing hand. This piece is at the moment being treated by a restorer to remove the chlorides
Material:  Bronze
Dimensions:  21 cm high; 30 cm with stand
Provenance:  Acquired in the United Kingdom in the early 1990s / Bonhams London, “The Geddes Collection”, 2008
Exhibited:  Ifergan Collection, Málaga (2018-2020)
Published:  Antiquities, London, Bonhams, October 1st, 2000.


On request
Ref bhm093 Category Tag

The imposing figure of orator carries a canopy wrapped around his muscular torso and is secured at the waist with his left hand, bearded face framed by curls and adorned with an elaborate wreath of flowers and inlaid crystal eyes. The bards, in the ancient history of Europe, were the people in charge of transmitting stories, legends and poems orally as well as singing the history of their peoples in long recitative poems.

This fine figure of a story-teller or bard appears to be unparalleled, however it is similar in conception and spirit to the bronze warrior composed of sheet bronze, rather than solid cast, found at Saint-Maur-en-Chausée (Oise) and now in the Musée Départment de l’Oise, Beauvais. Ref. Exhibition catalogue: The Celts: the Origins of Europe, (Venice 1991), p.330. This find-spot of the Beauvais warrior and the similarity of the treatment of the hair on this item, particularly when observed in profile, to the Celtic coins of Northern and Western Gaul of the 2nd-1st Century B.C. confirm the identity of this imposing piece.

This figure follows in the greek tradition of representing orators, playwrights and politicians; for an etruscan bronze of an orator, the “Arringatore”, in the Archaeological Museum, Florence see Ian Jenkins: Greek and roman life, British Museum Press, 1986, pág. 25

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