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image M932

Cinerary vase depicting Neptune and sea divinities, marble.

2nd century AD

Luna marble

Height: 44cm
Height (excluding lid): 31cm
Height (pedestal, excluding modern square base): 7cm
Height (frieze): 18cm
Circumference (lid): 65cm

Museum number: M932

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 343help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

Neptune, his trident held vertically in his left hand, rides right, on the waves in a biga [chariot] of Hippocamps. To the left and right, facing him, are two Porpoise-like sea monsters. On the reverse side (facing away from the Dome Area as displayed in the Museum), a pair of Tritons are swimming on the waves towards each other, paddles held in their left and right hands respectively; their heads are turned outwards, and they blow long, spiral shells, held with their free hands. The foot of this vase is composed of a series of dolphins, heads down and outwards, tails up to support the bottom of the bowl.

A parallel Piranesi type vase in the Museo Torlonia1 shows similar representations of Neptune, Amphitrite, Tritons, etc.; for a large illustration of a Second century cinerary vase of similar elaborate shape, with the name plate flanked by the griffin-and-candelabra motive discussed in the note to Soane vase no. M839 (Vermeule 345), see Gusman2.

The square base and the lid are definitely unantique as is probably the whole vase, except the pedestal below the break. The pedestal has been broken and repaired in the middle.

1 P.E. Visconti, Catalogo del Museo Torlonia di Sculpture Antiche, Rome, 1883, no. 467, pl. CXX.
2 P. Gusman, L'Art décoratif de Roma de la fin de la république au IV siècle, 2 vols, Paris, 1910, III, pl. 134.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Purchased at Lord Mendip’s Sale, 18 May 1802, Lot. 43, £21.0.0.


Soane, Description, 1830, p.84, fig. 50.

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