Roman Villa – The Getty Villa

The magnificent Getty Villa in Malibu California is a recreation of a classic Roman Villa. It is a treasure trove of antiquity in a villa modelled on the Roman Villa dei Papiri in the Bay of Naples that was buried by an eruption of Mount Vesuvias in AD 79.

(Looking down the main garden of the Getty Roman Villa with large pond and various bronze fountains)

The Getty Villa is one of two locations of the J. Paul Getty Museum and houses oil tycoon Getty’s vase collection of Greek and Roman antiquities and aretefacts. The collection has 44,000 Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities dating from 6,500 BC to 400 AD. It’s definitely well worth a visit in the area and Canonbury Antiques really enjoyed our recent afternoon spent there.

(The Malbury Hall Zeus – also referred to as Jupiter )
The Roman Villa at the time of the height of the Roman Emperor would be a space for wealthy Romans to display their art collections in lovely surroundings. Marble sculptures, busts, mosaics, bronze fountains and urns, statues, frescoes and tiled mosaics would be on display. The main courtyard of the Getty Roman Villa features various bronze statues – mainly replicas – dotted amongst the gardens and fountains in the canyon that heads inland from the Pacific Ocean and it makes for a charming stroll. The topiary and flowers really brings out the asethetics of the statues and sculptures, which is exactly the purpose of the Roman Villa working as kind of ancient country retreat.

Inner gallery with various marble statues leading to main statue under half round dome at the Roman Villa )
Besides the Roman Villa are larger rooms housing the collections authentic Greek and Roman works of art including one of my favourites, a large marble sculpture of Jupiter (or Zeus). This impressive work was first documented in the 1570s at Tivoli near Rome where the statue originally decorated the gardens of Villa d’Este. This piece was also in the collection at Marbury Hall in England after which it was purchased by Getty. In fact the trend in the 1700 and 1800s for collecting Roman and Greek antiquity was very popular in England after the discovery of the ruins at Palmrya (sadly now largely destroyd by Isis). It became in vogue for rich aristocrats and businesmen to collect statues and art from the ancient world for display in the their country houses and gardens. Collectors like William Petty-Fitzmaurice (1st Marquess of Lansdowne) and Thomas Bruce (7th Earl of Elgin) had large collections. Elgin served as a British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire and amassed a large collection of Greek antiquities, the most famous probabaly being the Elgin Marbles whch came from the Parthenon in Athens and ended up in the British Museum.


( Marble Victorious Athlete in the museum with intricate concentric mosaic floor )

If you are looking to achieve the perfect Roman Villa look then Canonbury Antiques has you covered as we have some wonderful pieces that would work well in your gardens and homes. Classical bronze statues, marble busts, large fountains, sphinxes, large bronze statuesand other large works of art. Many of these Roman Villa pieces are on display in our Canonbury Antiques Hertfordshire showroom and can be shipped to anywhere in the world. We have a dedicated area outside where are large architectural antiques and works of antiquity are stored so please come and pay us a visit, we are only 25 minutes north of London in the leafy Herts countryside.


Just look at all the different types and colours of marble in this gallery at the Getty Villa )
Other important works in the Getty Roman Villa include the Landsdowne Hercules which is a Hadrianic Roman sculpture in the manner of Lysippus, alongside the Getty kouros, the Malbury Hall Zeus and a wonderful bronze Victorius Athlete. All perfect for achieving that Roman Villa look alongside or in the classic English country garden.


(A Gallo-Roman shrine. Bronze Gaul busts – Gaul was the Roman name for France )

Please enjoy some photos of our favourite pieces from the Canonbury Antiques Roman Villa collection:

2.4m Stone Garden Temple Gazebo with Conical Dome )

( Large Diana the Hunter in bronze )



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