Monday, 21 January 2008

Tullie House museum prepares for imperial visitor

From the 24 Hour Museum

Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery is gearing up for an important Imperial visit in February. The Cumbrian museum will be the first venue to receive the British Museum’s bronze bust of Roman Emperor Hadrian.

The star item is being loaned out for the first time in the run-up to the British Museum’s major exhibition, Hadrian: Empire and Conflict (opening July 24 2008).

It will join the largest collection of Roman history on the western end of Hadrian’s Wall when it comes to Tullie House in Carlisle, where it will be on show from February 8 to April 13 2008.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for our local visitors to get a chance to see a rare piece of Roman sculpture of the Emperor Hadrian in Hadrian’s Wall Country,” said Hilary Wade, Director of Tullie House.

“The head is one of the rare surviving bronzes from the Roman times and has never left the British Museum since its discovery. It is an almost unique survival – large bronze statues were often melted down. This one is remarkable wll preserved and is one-and-a-quarter life-size.”

The bronze head, measuring nearly half a metre high, was discovered in the River Thames in 1834. It was probably cast in 122AD, when Hadrian visited Britain and ordered the wall cutting off the northern tribes from the Empire.

“We are delighted that the British Museum has chosen Tullie House to showcase its major exhibition for 2008,” said Ms Wade.

After Carlisle, the bust will travel to the eastern end of the wall and go on display at Segedunum Roman Fort, Wallsend, in Tyne & Wear (April 16 – June 8).

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