Bacchante (Autumn)

This work depicts 'Bacchante', a priestess of Bacchus (Dionysus), the God of Wine, in classical mythology. The Romans adopted the Greek myth of 'Dionysus' to become the Roman myth of 'Bacchus'. Bacchante (Autumn) wears vine leaves in her hair, which are symbolic of Bacchus (Dionysus).
Accession Loan No.
Collection Class
bronze on wood
Common Name
Bacchante (Autumn)
Simple Name
Full Name
Bacchante (Autumn)
sculpture H 240 mm; sculpture W 170 mm; sculpture depth 100 mm; base H 100 mm; base length 112 mm; base W 90 mm
Production Person Surname
Production Person Initials
Frederick J
Period Classification
Inter War (1918-1939)
Production Date
c 1927
Production Year Low
Production Year High
Production Town
Production Country
United Kingdom: England
Production Area Region
Northern Europe
Production Continent
Family Group

Inscription / Transcription
F. Halnon

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    • This bust depicts a bacchante, a female priestess of the Roman god Bacchus, also known as Dionysus in Graeco-Roman religion. The female followers of Bacchus were also known as maenads. Graeco-Roman deities played an important part in the Victorian discourses of aestheticism and decadence, and Dionysus was an especially important figure to the author Michael Field, the pseudonym of Katherine Bradley (1846-1914) and Edith Cooper (1862-1913).

      Aestheticism and decadence were all about challenging mainstream values and were associated with sexual dissidence, evidenced by the multiplicity of queer proponents, including Oscar Wilde, Walter Pater, Vernon Lee, Edward Carpenter and Amy Levy. Classical studies played an important role within these discourses. It’s easy to see Dionysus’ appeal to a queer audience. Dionysus was the god of wine and hedonism, a concept appealing to certain queer aesthetes such as Oscar Wilde. He was also seen as a foreign god, giving him a sense of otherness that those of marginalised gender and sexual identities may have identified with. Dionysus was seen as an object of male and female desire in Rome, according to works by Lucian and Euripides. In visual presentations of the god, he often has an androgynous look. For the ancient world, this was a celebrating of youthful masculinity, which has homoerotic connotations, and for the Victorians, androgyny and effeminacy were certainly associated with queerness.

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