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image S55

Foot-base of a Roman furniture leg comprising the clawed talon of a griffin-type support, terminating in a vertical, rectangular leg.

Egyptian granite

Height: 11cm
Width (base): 9cm, maximum
Length (side): 15.5cm

Museum number: S55

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 250help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

These furniture legs were often executed in precious and exotic marbles, especially for the most spectacularly decorated palaces, such as the Imperial Palaces on the Palatine Hill in Rome and Villas such as that of Hadrian at Tivoli (Villa Adriana). For example see the red veined marble table leg with a lion's head recently set up in the Sala degli Orti Lamiani of the Palazzo dei Conservatori, Rome (see under Vermeule no. 25). The majority of these animal leg-and-paw supports tend to show the leg of the animal represented naturally, but there are cases, as here, where only the foot is finished in a paw - the leg being treated as the straightforward rectangular leg of the piece of furniture; compare two legs of this shape, broken off about 15 cm above the paw and carved in Luna marble recently in the small cortile near the entrance to the Musei Vaticani and now stored with other sculptures from the gardens in the Vatican Magazine.

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 See Cornelius Vermeule, unpublished Catalogue of the Antiquities at Sir John Soane's Museum, Introduction, transcription of Tatham letters, List 2, no. 51 (?).

Literature

Tatham: Etchings, 12; Drawings, 2.


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