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image S40

A fossilised poterion potera (Neptune’s Cup sponge).

Museum number: S40

Curatorial note

Incongruously placed amongst the Roman fragments which belonged to Soane’s early teacher Henry Holland is the curious natural form of a Neptune’s cup sponge, lying horizontally on the shelf across the window of the Study. Soane was intrigued by its form but did not know what it was – he commented in his 1835 Description of this house that A large fungus from the rocks of the island of Sumatra …will be appreciated by the lovers of natural history.

Also in Soane's collection is a copy by Thomas Hardwick (1821) of a detailed drawing made for the Linnean Society two years earlier of another sponge, this time a Spongia Patera from Singapore (SM 59/13/8).

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