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image DR9

A Roman utensil handle attached to a perforated brass bowl

The handle dates from the later Republic or first century of the Empire (e.g. first century AD)

Bronze handle with brass bowl

Length: 32cm, maximum
Length (handle): 19cm
Diameter (bowl at outside rim): 14cm

Museum number: DR9

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 445help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

An oriental perforated brass bowl to which a bronze handle of Roman workmanship terminating in a ram's head has been fastened; the handle type, probably joined to the bowl not long prior to their acquisition by Soane, is a common Roman product belonging to the later Republic or first century of the Empire. These handles, with the bowls, etc. to which they were attached or seperately have been found frequently around Pompeii1.

The British Museum bronze collection contains at least ten ram's or wolf's head handles of the same general characteristics as this example. The fluting generally extends the entire length of the handle with the collar at the base of the head end. In one interesting, early, variant in the British Museum collection, a shovel possesses a handle ending in a sheep's head and with a figure of Hermes (?) sitting on the top2.

1 De Ridder, Louvre Bronzes, II, p. 138, no. 3028, pl. 106 and bibliography.
2 British Museum, Bronzes, no. 1227.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Purchased by Soane at the James Clarke Sale (Christie's) 9 June 1802, Lot 29, An Aquamenarium, highly wrought, the handle elegantly ornamented with a ram's head £1.13.0.


If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk