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Roman utensil ornament and foot depicting a harpy with dragon wings

Bronze, roughly cast

Height (excluding nails): 14.5cm, maximum
Height (head at face): 3cm
Height (excluding base to chin): 9.5cm
Width (wingspread): 9.5cm, maximum

Museum number: MR63

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 424help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

This bronze depicts a figure with human head and headress or hairdo (?), a bird's body and legs, claws (?), and a pair of wings forming the back-curling bodies and heads of dragons with open mouths, all mounted on a small, moulded base and pedestal forming a foot support.

The foot support and decorative fastening of a functional utensil, probably a caldron. For the very general type, compare Biber, Cassel, p.85, no. 356 (Foot with "Lion-Griffin"), also nos.357-361 and references.

In Classical mythology the harpies (their name means 'snatchers') are birds with human faces who steal food from their victims and carry evildoers (especially murderers who have killed their families) to the Furies (Goddesses of vengeance).

Provenance help-art-provenance

Unrecorded.


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