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Model of the so-called Temple of Neptune or Poseidon, Paestum

Cork

Height: 55cm
Width: 33.5cm
Depth: 67cm

Museum number: MR5

Curatorial note

The Temple of Neptune is the best-preserved of the three temples at Paestum and, because of its imposing size, was identified as the temple of the patron deity of the city – Poseidon (Neptune to the Romans). The model shows the temple before the excavations at the beginning of the 19th century and numerous blocks are scattered in the interior and cover the floor of the cella or inner sanctuary. Despite Sir John Soane’s initial, negative reaction to the temples at Paestum, he began to incorporate the early Greek Doric order that he saw there into his designs as early as 1779. Later, in his lectures given at the Royal Academy he cited this temple on numerous occasions.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Christie, Mr. 1809. A Catalogue of the Very Choice and Extremely Valuable Library of Books, of Antiquities, and Prints…the Property of the late Sir. W. Hamilton, K.B. and the Lord Viscount Nelson, Deceased, Removed from his Lordship’s late Villa, at Merton…Thursday, 8th of June, 1809. London. The copy of the sale catalogue in the Christie’s archive describes Lot 96 on the Third Day’s sale as ‘A high finished model of the Great Temple at Paestum, in cork’; the handwritten annotation on opposite page, notes sold for £10 to ‘Soane’. The reference to ‘high finished’ may well refer to the varnish or finish applied to the model.

We are grateful to Dr Richard Gillespie of the University of Melbourne for sharing his discovery of this provenance with us.

Exhibition history

Permanently Magical: Restoration and Renewal of Sir John Soane's Museum, Sir John Soane's Museum, London, 2 July - 4 September 2010


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