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This small fragment of stucco decoration appears in the earliest inventories of the Museum (1837) amongst a group of miscellaneous small items stored in the drawer of a table in Soane's Library but noted as having been found in 'different places' around the house. The items were numbered later by Walter Spiers in 1906 who added them to the end of the sequence of items listed in the Library. The entry for L131 (AB inventory, p.10) reads 'Some small pieces of moulding brought from Pompeii by Miss Swinnerton'. There is a second, very small fragment, with this one (not shown in the image) so that description is correct. The fragments are wrapped in a piece of torn newspaper in Italian, part of the Giornale del Regno delle due Sicilie for Monday 28 March 1818 and an outer wrapper labelled in Soane's hand ‘Pompeia/ piece of moulding [ ]/ a present from Miss Swinnerton/ July 1820’.
Brought back from Pompeii by Miss Swinnerton, c.1818, and presented to Soane as a gfit in July 1820 according his own inscription on the paper wrapping. Miss Swinnerton was the daughter of Soane’s client Thomas Swinnerton, for whom Soane built a farmhouse at Butterton in Staffordshire in 1815. Mr. Swinnerton is thought to have had two daughters but this is probably Mary, who later became his heir.
Hooked on Books: The Library of Sir John Soane Architect 1753-1837, Weston Gallery, University Park, Nottingham, 30 April - 30 August 2004
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