International Institute for Sport History
Library & Museum

Charles Townley and friends in the Park Street Gallery, Westminster

by Johan Zoffany

The British Museum is home to the ancient Roman marble statue of the DISCUS THROWER
that was found at Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli around 1790. It was originally purchased by Charles Townley,
a British collector of Greek antiquities who thought he was getting an original Greek marble statue,
but it was actually a Roman reproduction. The statue was headless when it was found in 1790.
When a head was later found the statue was incorrectly restored with the head pointed down, but it should be pointing
back facing the discus. Thomas Jefferson was among the many visitor's to Townley's home, which served as his private art
gallery at Park Gate in London. Artist Johan Zoffany painted Charles Townley and friends in the Park Street Gallery in 1782
and 8 years after the painting was finished added the DISCOBOLUS to the lower left corner at Townley's request.
(see the lower left corner of this painting above). After Townley's death in 1805 his entire collection was purchased
by the British Museum in London where you can see this statue today. The orginal version by Myron was in bronze and disappeared
in antiquity. We are lucky that the ancient Romans were so fond of this statue that multiple copies were made.
The IISOH plans to acquire copies from the molds of this ancient Roman statue.

Reference: Johan Zoffany, 1733 - 1810; biography at the Tate Gallery (UK) website

Return to the ENDOWMENTS PAGE for other STATUARY GARDEN ideas.

For other endowment ideas go to the SUBJECT AREAS page.
These are the areas of interest for the IISOH - a long but not necessarily complete list!

Other links to pages about the International Institute for Sport History.

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Building Plans

Mr. Harvey Abrams, President
International Institute for Sport History (IISOH)
PO Box 175
State College, PA, USA 16804

This page was created October 6, 2001
This page was updated June 27, 2008
This page was updated on December 22, 2011
This page was updated on June 12, 2018