Unknown (English 19C [Copeland & Sons?])
Parian porcelain
Presented by William Taylor Copeland, Esq., by 1865
Present location unknown

The details listed above appear in NGV 1865 and AR 1870-71, clearly describing this work as a bust “from the antique in the British Museum, in Parian” (for this medium, see * Bonham Carter Florence Nightingale {1880} Loc? [SC]), and identifying the donor as an MP and Alderman of London.

The work reproduced was obviously the marble bust purchased by Charles Townley in Naples in 1772, and said to be his favourite work (British Museum 1805,0703.79). Traditionally called Clytie, whose unrequited love for Apollo led to her transformation into a sunflower, the figure has also been identified as Antonia (36 BC – 37 AD), the daughter of Mark Anthony and the mother of Germanicus and the future Emperor Claudius. The British Museum date the bust to c.40-50 AD, while adding that it seems to have been reworked extensively in the 18th century.

William Taylor Copeland (1797-1868), besides being Lord Mayor of London (1835-6) and the Conservative member of parliament for Stoke-upon-Trent (1837-52 and 1857-65), was also, significantly, the owner of Copeland & Sons, the china and glass company founded by his father William Copeland and Josiah Spode in 1770: see now Copeland pottery [DA], noting various pre-Felton examples (some still in the NGV).

It seems logical, then, to suggest that the present bust was also a product of the Copeland factory, presumably similar to the example reproduced here, a Parian bust of Clytie in the V&A, manufactured by Copeland & Co. in 1855.

Melbourne’s bust may have been presented as early as 1863, when other “specimens of porcelain” are recorded as donated by Copeland: see “Donations” (1863).

[comparative photo: Parian bust of Clytie by Copeland, V&A Museum (CIRC.177-1964)]

The pre-Felton collection also included a second copy of the British Museum bust, a plaster cast listed separately in the MPL’s 1870-71 report as donated by Murphy in the 1860s): see now Casts – II. Busts & heads (II.28), with a comparative reproduction of the British Museum bust.


NGV 1865, bust no.18 (and see also NGV 1865, vol.III, 14); see also AR 1870-71: two separate entries on p.28: Parian bust, as noted above, and plaster bust (as donated by Murphy); see also NGV 1894, p.147, VIII.The Cast Gallery (Antique Room), no.44

For the Townley bust, see the British Museum’s online catalogue, also citing Jones, Fake? The Art of Deception (British Museum exh.cat., 1990). For the Parian bust in the V&A, see http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O334939/clytie-bust-copeland-co/ (accessed 10 Oct.2020)