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Pilastered double cinerarium

41-68 AD
Sinn suggests a Claudian-Neronian dating [noting that the inscriptions are not antique]

Pentelic marble

Height: 55cm
Height (excluding restorations): 29.5cm
Width (lid): 50cm

Museum number: M429

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 323help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

Beneath an incised-wave fillet moulding at the top of the front, Tuscan pilasters flank and divide a pair of inscribed name plates. Below each is pair of doves on a krater (vase), each flanked by four rosettes. Within a rectangular, pedimented lid flanked by conventional tragic-mask antefixae are single bukranion (ox skulls) supporting two garlands. The lid has a removable dome-like lid with striated ornament and a pinecone knob.

Inscribed:
Left: D.M. Right: D. D
ANTONIÆ L AVIL· DYONISI-
AQVILIÆ VS · FECIT

As the provenance indicates and as confirmed by Professor Glenys Davies (visit to the museum and inspection of the urn 1988) this urn was assembled by the Piranesi workshop. Only the middle section is antique (not the inscriptions). The sides, lid and base are made to Piranesi's design, as illustrated in G.B. Piranesi, Vasi, candelabri, cippi, sarcofagi tripodi, lucerne, ed ornamenti antichi, fol, Rome, 1779, pl. 5.

Soane made extensive purchases of antiquities at sales in 1801 and 1802, the pieces destined for his new country house at Pitzhanger Manor, Ealing, then under construction. This urn is shown in J.M. Gandy watercolour design for the library at Pitzhanger Manor (SM P94) in which the cinerary vase Soane M838/Vermeule 344 sits on top of it, in place of the round lid.

Provenance help-art-provenance

From the collections of Cavaceppi, Dealer-Restorer-Sculptor, and G.B. Piranesi, in Rome; said to have been found in the ancient cemetery of Siena. Purchased by Soane at Lord Bessborough's Sale, Christie's, 7 April 1801, Lot 71 (in the Mansion / from the Catacombs) 'A very beautiful square ditto [cinerary urn] wtih masks, festoons etc. etc. This and the preceding are engraved by Piranesi', £42.0.0.

Literature

G.B. Piranesi, Vasi, candelabri, cippi, sarcofagi tripodi, lucerne, ed ornamenti antichi, fol, Rome, 1779, pl.5.; in this engraving the inscription has been regularised and the details elaborated as was the custom in Piranesi's reproductions.
Description of Sir John Soane's Museum (guidebook), 1930, p.72.
F. Sinn, Römische Marmorurnen, No. 157, p. 131.
CIL VI 5, 3636*


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