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image M1251

Section of an unidentified Roman cornice

Mid 2nd century AD

Luna marble

Height: 27cm
Width: 56cm
Thickness: 43cm

Museum number: M1251

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 93help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

The descending courses of carved enrichment on this cornice fragment are a fillet, plain cyma reversa, fillet, plain fascia, soffit with stopped fluting in the corona, fillet, egg and dart, fillet, dentil course, fillet, and cyma reversa enriched with waterleaf on the bottom.

It is probably from a gable, with rarely found use of elaborate flutes in the enrichment of the underside of the upper mouldings. To judge from the decoration of the cyma reversa at the base of the cornice, this section should be dated to the mid-second century AD when there exist quite good parallels for its form, especially in the carving of the egg and tongue and this use of fluting on the underside of the corona. Compare for style (and date) the cornice fragment in the Conservatori gardens (Rome) with identical treatment in the central mouldings1. The Soane cornice may be related to or be the same as the one drawn in the Renaissance Codex Coner in the Soane Museum2 as "prope domu(m) a ualloru(m)" (or in the possession of the Della Valle family), but there appear to be more variant details than further destruction or inaccuracy of draughtsmanship would explain. The Della Valle cornice at any rate offers one of the few parallels for stopped fluting on the underside of the corona.

1 The British School at Rome, Catalogue of ancient sculptures preserved in the municipal collections of Rome: The sculptures of the Museo Capitolino, ed. H.S. Jones, 2 vols, Oxford, 1912, p. 240, no. 51, pl. 88.
2 SM Vol. 115; Thomas Ashby, Sixteenth-century drawings attributed to Andreas Coner, PBSR, Vol. II (Papers of the British School at Rome, London: Macmillan & Co., 1904), p.106.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Rome; collected by Charles Heathcote Tatham for the architect Henry Holland during the 1790s. See Cornelius Vermeule, unpublished catalogue of the Antiquities at Sir John Soane's Museum, Introduction, transcription of Tatham letters, List 3, no. 48.


Tatham: Drawings, 11.

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