Origin: English Period: Early 20thC Provenance: Unknown Date: c.1900 Width: 11” Depth: 8” Height: 17” The Base: 5.5” diameter The very decorative black painted composition plaster portrait bust of the blind poet Homer, sculpted and painted to resemble the eighteenth century basaltware bust of the ancient Greek poet that was produced by Wedgwood in Staffordshire, the draped poet on a socle base, the reverse stamped ‘London’, the front cartouche with remnants of the word ‘Homer’ and surviving from the second quarter of the twentieth century.
The bust has a very decorative appearance with a brown underwash showing through the faux basalt black topcoat, a superb dry and crusty patination to the whole and chips and paint flaking as per the photographs. It appears to have been broken at the neck at some stage and repaired, though one can see the hairlines, it is not overly detrimental to the whole.
This bust is loosely modeled on a plaster cast taken by Hoskins and Grant (formerly Hoskins and Oliver) and “perfected” by William Hackwood. Hoskins and Grant were moulders and casters in plaster to the Royal Academy from 1768. Under the later partnership they supplied moulds of busts to Wedgwood and Bentley from 1774-1779. This bust was painted to imitate the black basaltware of Wedgwood at the time.
Homer (c. 750 BCE) is perhaps the greatest of all epic poets and his legendary status was well established by the time of Classical Athens. He composed two major works, the Iliad and the Odyssey; whilst other works were attributed to Homer, but even in antiquity their authorship was disputed. In conjunction with Hesiod, Homer acts as a great pool of information for the Greeks about their gods. Homer is the earliest poet in Western culture whose works have survived intact.