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image M588

Section of a free composite capital

117-138 AD

Luna marble

Height: 25cm
Width: 28cm

Museum number: M588

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 47help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

This capital is enriched with a ring of acanthus leaves at the base. The upper part is carved to display inverted volutes in relief, the eyes of each pair being linked by a diminutive swag, From the junction of each pair in the centre of the faces springs a palmette ornament reaching to the abacus.

Interior architectural carving of the Hadrianic period, most likely from Hadrian's Villa1 , although there is at least one parallel from the Curia area of the Roman Forum. Piranesi drew a more complete and seemingly slightly more refined version of this capital, which is inscribed "In vinea Jacobi Ingamil ad Circum Maximum"2 which means it might belong with those from the Forum Romanum, which is close to the Circus Maximus.

1 Cp. Gusman, Villa Hadriana, p.240, fig.365, from the libraries. For general literature on the Villa Hadriana [Villa Adriana], see Vermeule 45 (M137).
2 Piranesi, Della magnificenza de architettura de' Romani, 1761, pl. XVI. Wilton-Ely, Giovanni Battista Piranesi: The Complete Etchings - an Illustrated Catalogue, 1994, No. 776.

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 See Cornelius Vermeule, unpublished catalogue of the Antiquities at Sir John Soane's Museum, Introduction, transcription of Tatham letters, List 2, no.21 (Soane Archive).


Tatham: Drawings, 1.

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