Explore Collections Explore The Collections
You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Fragment of a Roman composite pilaster capital carved with acanthus leaves and a pair of dolphins entwined around a central foliate stem
top left corner
top right corner
bottom left corner
bottom right corner
image M13

Fragment of a Roman composite pilaster capital carved with acanthus leaves and a pair of dolphins entwined around a central foliate stem

Late Flavian (69-96 AD) to early 2nd century AD

Luna marble

Height: 35cm
Width: 32cm
Thickness: 4cm

Museum number: M13

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 58help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

A thin, flat pilaster capital carved with elaborate enrichment: acanthus leaves with a palmette between them, at the base; two leaves running up to form corner volutes (now missing); and a foliate central stem, about which two large dolphins are intertwined1 , terminating in a flower in the abacus.

Late Flavian to early Second Century palace or villa type carving.

If we can assume a local provenance for the slightly earlier but quite analogous pilaster capital in the Aquileia Museum, then we have evidence of high quality workmanship in ornate pilaster carving not only in Rome but in Northern Italy under the earlier Empire2 .

Soane's collection also contains a cast taken from this fragment (see SM M815).

1 On capitals decorated with dolphins, see von Mercklin, figs. 967;1028, they all differ from this one.
2 Brusin, Aquileia, p.122, fig.76.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Rome; collected by Charles Heathcote Tatham for the architect Henry Holland in the 1790s. See Vermeule, 'Catalogue of Antiquities in Sir John Soane's Museum', unpublished, Introduction, Tatham Letters transcript, List 1, no.16. (Soane Archive).

Literature

Tatham: Etchings, 9; Drawings, 12.


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