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image Image 1 for M428
image Image 2 for M428
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  • image Image 2 for M428

Roman roof Cresting Plaque depicting two women walking towards a stylised acanthus plant

27 BC-14 AD
Augustan

Terracotta

Height: 36.5cm
Width: 42cm

Museum number: M428

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 475help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

The women, in Archaistic dress and pose, are bending the budding stems of the acathus plant down with their outstretched left and right hands respectively as they pull up the edges of their skirts with their right and left hands respectively.

Group IV: Cresting plaque.

Von Rohden places this, judging by the foliate design, in Type II1 and cites a comparison for the strip of vegetation at the top2.

1 H. Von Rohden and H. Winnefeld, Die antiken Terracotten, vol. IV (Architektomische römische Tonreliefs der Kaiserzeit) pp. 210-212, cp. fig. 430.
2 H. Von Rohden and H. Winnefeld, Die antiken Terracotten, vol. IV., (Architektomische römische Tonreliefs der Kaiserzeit) pl. LXXIV.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Soane records in his 1835 Description that this terracotta was once 'in the possession of Dr Chauncey' (probably the physician and antiquarian Dr Charles Chauncey 1709–1777) and that it was found in the ruins of the Emperor Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli, near Rome. Interestingly Soane adds a footnote recording something of Chauncey's thoughts about it: "Sculptures of this kind," says Dr Chauncey, "from the cheapness, probably, of the materials and the workmanship, were very generally in use among the Romans: and they often, at least, were not intended (as models in clay now usually are) as models only, for sculptures to be executed afterwards in more valuable materials, but were wrought for the purpose of beign used at once as ornaments of houses and tombs. The general design of this sculpture relates probably to the subject most frequently alluded to in ancient mythology - the creation of all things: this seems to be pointed out by the active element of fire, and by the plant of the lotus, so often to be met with among the ancients on such occasions, as havign the property of reproducing itself."

Literature

Von Rohden, H., and Winnefeld, H., Die antiken Terracotten, vol. IV. 1,2, (Architektomische römische Tonreliefs der Kaiserzeit.), p.211
Sir John Soane, Description of the Residence of John Soane, Architect, 1835, pp.31-32.


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