This is a Romano-British figurine of a chubby, naked boy, known as a putto. Although discovered in 2019 in Cox Green in Windsor and Maidenhead, it was recently highlighted in the latest Portable Antiquities Scheme annual report. It is made of copper-alloy and depicts a cherubic boy in a seated position, with his arms outstretched and bent at the elbows. He is positioned slightly awkwardly, with his right hip tilted upwards and both legs bent at the knee. His bottom is ill-defined and curved, with a hole where the figurine may have once been attached to a pedestal. He has lozenge-shaped eyes, a wide, wedge-shaped nose, and a thinly etched mouth. His hair is well defined, parted in the middle with grooves to delineate the individual strands.
Putti are frequently depicted playing (or struggling) with animals, such as the famous 3rd-century BC Hellenistic ‘Boy with Goose’ sculpture attributed by Pliny to Boëthos of Calcedon, which seems to have been copied several times throughout the Roman period. In this example, however, the boy is holding what appears to be a ball in his left hand – similar, perhaps, to the little Caen stone sculpture found at Westminster, which is now held in the Museum of London’s collections. Other examples of putti recorded on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database include those found near Boston in Lincolnshire (search for LIN-A7D5D9) and in Winterbourne in West Berkshire (BERK-B60E47).
For more information about this putto, see https://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/1015140 or search for BERK-3D408B on the PAS database.
The Portable Antiquities Scheme is an initiative to encourage the recording of archaeological objects found by members of the public in England and Wales. For more information on the Scheme, and to browse its database of over 1.5 million finds, visit www.finds.org.uk. Information for this find was provided by Philip Smither, Finds Liaison Officer – Berkshire.