ON his pilgrimage to London for a priestly conclave with Priests Hernestus from Germany and Martinus from Britain, our FLAMEN ANTONIUS SUBIA took these photos of the exquisite Townley bust of Antinous at the British Museum.
The 81 cm (31 inch) bust is on a pedestal adjacent to a bust of Hadrian in the museum's Roman Art galleries.
This bust is particularly special to Antonius because it was from a mold taken from this bust that an exact plaster replica copy was made ... the bust which adorns the sacred altar of the HOLLYWOOD TEMPLE OF ANTINOUS.
Antonius points out that the Townley bust was found at the Villa Doria Pamphili across the Tiber from the Vatican in the 1770s.
Apparently, there was a colossal statue of Antinous, bits and pieces of which survived into the 18th Century. An arm was still intact ... and the head was still pristine.
The head was converted into a bust (you can still see the seam where the base of the bust was joined with the head) and it was placed in a niche in a wall at the famous villa ... the home of the Doria family whose descendants included Andrea Doria, whose name is synonymous with one of maritime history's most appalling passenger ship disasters.
British art maven Charles Townley acquired the bust along with numerous other Roman art treasures and brought them back to Britain, where he remodeled his home in the manner of a Roman villa to serve as a fitting gallery ... stuffed to the rafters with the most fabulous Classical art collection in England.
Townley became a trustee of the British Museum in 1791 and, after his death, the Antinous bust and many other treasures were bequeathed to the museum.
The bust appears to depict Antinous as Dionysus/Bacchus since a wreath of grapes wound around an ivy vine rings the crown of his head.
The bust is colossal ... larger than life ... nearly three feet tall ... 81 cm.
"Just imagine how magnificent this statue must have been!" Antonius says.
These photos were taken by Antonius, showing the Townley Antinous from all angles: