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image M310

Fragment of the base of a Roman column

c.60 AD according to Vermeule

Luna marble

Height: 24cm
Width: 23cm
Thickness: 10cm, minimum
Thickness: 15cm, maximum

Museum number: M310

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 74help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

A section of the enriched base of a capital (or is this possibly a column?) which Tatham (see provenance, below) either 'restored' in the drawing he made or which has been broken and rejoined since its arrival in England. From top to bottom, the various courses of enrichment/mouldings comprise: torus carved with foliate patterns, fluted cavetto, bead between fillets, cavetto enriched with palmette and inverted flower stems, fillet, torus with guilloche, and a heavy base or bottom section or plinth with traces of moulding and enrichment at the right corner.

A latish Julio-Claudian date, c.60 AD, is indicated by the carving, which is more elaborate than work of the Augustan period and more imaginative than the type of Hadrianic detail exemplified by object Vermeule 79 (M573), a base securely identified as coming from Hadrian's Villa (Villa Adriana) at Tivoli.

This fragment might be a part of a fragmented column base, now in the magazine of the Museo Capitolino1 in Rome, which has exactly the same carving. This could explain why there is a more complete base shown in the Tatham drawing. It seems to be more likely though that the two fragments (the one in Rome and the one here) originate from the same building. Schreiter dates it to the late Augustan period2. Even though the dimensions of the fragment in Rome are different this does not necessarily make an identical origin unlikely as column bases from one building can differ by up to about 8cm.

1 Inv. 2706.
2 Charlotte Schreiter, 'Römische Schmuckbasen', Sonderdruck des Kölner Jahrbuchs, 1995,28, S. 161-347: fig. 100, no. 135.1.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Rome; collected in Rome 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 See Cornelius Vermeule, unpublished catalogue of the Antiquities at Sir John Soane's Museum, Introduction, transcription of Tatham letters, letters, List 3, no.6.


Tatham: Etchings, 5; Drawings, 8.

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