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image S30

Fragment of a carved pilaster-type panel

193-235 AD

Pavonazzetto marble

Height: 32cm
Width: 22cm
Thickness: 7cm

Museum number: S30

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 149help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

Remains of a waterleaf border at the right. Through the centre an acanthus stem, tendrils, and foliage rise in a loose scroll forming two spandrel-like areas. In that at the upper right appears the chiton-clad body of a Maenad (?) standing on and grasping the foliage; in the lower left, part of a Maenad flying right and clasping a tympanum.

Although showing close affinities in high quality and careful carving to parallel-type Flavian work, from the style of the compressed waterleaf border at the right, this fragment is probably excellent decorative enrichment of the Severan period. The later dating seems assured when we note that this fragment appears to represent or to closely parallel a section of the sculptured border of a mutilated series of carved panel and medallion reliefs discovered in 1796 in Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli1 . The centres of the loose scrolls have Maenads holding tympana, and the spandrels near the waterleaf show a variety of figures supporting or springing from the foliage, etc. The style of the veined, crushed waterleaf border is identical with that of the panel showing Apollo amid foliage, etc. from the crypt of St. Peter's, and this panel may have once presented an appearance similar to the Villa Hadriana section drawn by Piranesi2

1 Drawn by Piranesi, VCC, pl. 76, as in his Museum Wilton-Ely, 964 (?); copied by Canina, Edifizi di Roma, VI, pl. CLXXII, as from the Villa and reproduced by Gusman, Villa Hadriana, p. 245, fig.401.
2 Gusman, AD, II, pl. 93, also 94; PBSR, XVIII, 1950, pl. XVIII.

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 See Cornelius Vermeule, unpublished Catalogue of the Antiquities at Sir John Soane's Museum, Introduction, transcription of Tatham letters, List 2, no.73.


Tatham: Drawings, 2.

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