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image M558

A Roman antefix

1st century AD

Pentelic marble

Height: 30cm
Width: 23cm
Thickness: 24cm

Museum number: M558

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 120help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

The carved decoration consists of a standard acanthus-leaf cup from which rises a seven-leafed palmette of a honeysuckle design.

Three similar antefixae are displayed in the Museo Chiaramonti in the Vatican and are thought to come from the same building. The details of design and workmanship of this piece are quite close to these, and the dimensions not greatly different.1 The motive had, of course, wide popularity in architectural decoration in all materials, as demonstrated by the examples in local stone discovered at Laumes, Auxois which are in the Samur Museum2, and which testify to the use of these standard forms in the non-Greek provinces.

1 See W. Amelung, Die Skulpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin, vol I (1903), pp. 627 - 629, nos. 481, 485, and 487.
2 E. Esperandieu, Recueil général des bas-reliefs de la Gaule romaine, Paris, 1907, III, pp. 279-280.

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 See Cornelius Vermeule, unpublished Catalogue of the Antiquities at Sir John Soane's Museum, Introduction, transcription of Tatham letters, List 2, nos. 59-63.


Tatham: Drawings, 2.

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