The herm head probably depicting Hermes, the messenger of the gods and traditionally the god of boundaries. The deity is shown in maturity, with a long beard and flowing moustache, his hair curling around his foreheads and bound with a diadem. The almond-shaped eyes recessed originally for inlay.
UK private collection, 19th century With Tomasso Brothers, Leeds, 2003 With Charles Ede Limited, London, 2004 UK private collection
Hermes was closely associated with boundaries, and his protective image in the form of a bearded head set on a rectangular stone shaft was placed at doorways and at strategic points along the roadside. For a similar type in marble cf. Copenhagen, Ny Carlsberg Glyptothek, inv. no. 565. For a typology of bearded herm-heads see L. Curtius, Zeus und Hermes, 1. Ergh. RM, 1931. For herm busts made of coloured stones see H. Gregarek, Kölner Jahrbuch, vol. 32, 1999, p. 105f.