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  • image M673

Head of a Roman drain or waterspout

Terracotta, baked grey clay with red tile

Height: 25cm
Width: 27cm

Museum number: M673

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 484help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

The mouth of a drain or waterspout in the form of a wolf's head protruding at an angle to the right from an architectural drainpipe moulding.

Such functional enrichments were part of Roman buildings of the later Republic and first century of the Empire.

C.H. Tatham described this piece in a list appended to a letter of October 1795 to Henry Holland, from Rome, as: A large head of the wolf kind with the mouth perforated used for turning off the water from the eaves of roofs - of very fine expression.

A number of examples with varied heads found in the excavations of Pompeii are illustrated in Die Terracotten von Pompeji, plates I-X and in Die Antiken Terracotten vol. I. (For the Attic Fourth Century counterpart, a terracotta cyma with lion-head spout, see Acta Arch., VII, 2-3, 1936, p.336, no. 11, fig. 8).

Provenance help-art-provenance

Rome - Introd., Tatham, Letters, List 2, no.84.


Tatham: Drawings, 3.

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