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Upper section of a Roman table leg or furniture support.

Greek island marble, possibly Parian type

Height: 31cm

Museum number: M856

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 246help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

The upper third of a large table leg or furniture support comprising the head of an Abyssinian lion, from the top of which rises the square cushion for the table top. The body curves sharply out at front and back. Below are stylised acanthus leaves above what would have been the joint with the next section of the leg, below.

This fragment can be compared with three examples in Berlin1, all from Asia Minor. In larger table legs made in sections we can probably imagine mass production, one sculptor specialising in panther heads, another in paws etc. (see Soane S38/Vermeule 252 for a lion's paw produced in a similar manner). The motives of animal-foot table legs and the animal symbolism therein, are traced through the ancient arts by W. Deonna "Pieds de meubles antiques et modernes"2.

1 Königliche Museen zu Berlin, Beschreibung der antiken Skulpturen, Berlin, 1891, pp. 426-427, nos. 1078-1080.
2 Demareteion, Paris, II, 1, 1936, pp. 1-16, and especially notes, pp. 12ff.

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 See Cornelius Vermeule, unpublished catalogue of the Antiquities at Sir John Soane's Museum, Introduction, transcription of Tatham letters, List 1, no.33.

Literature

Tatham: Etchings, 2; Drawings, 6.


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