Stone heads

Stone head 18: veiled


Veiled head, Society of Antiquaries of London
Burlington House, London

Traditional head coverings or calyptras have symbolised various virtues or attributes, such as chastity or modesty, mourning or economic status, elegance or marriage, loyalty and, especially these days, faith or cultural identity.

The choice of a partially veiled head for the Society of Antiquaries is not immediately clear — it’s a classical reference, clearly, presumably a nod towards their antiquarian leanings. It’s not a shroud — the face would be covered — so perhaps the half-covered face just suggests that the task of historians and archaeologists is to draw back the veil from the mysteries of history.