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image X34

Section of the base of a candelabrum or decorative shaft.

Greek island marble

Height: 27cm
Diameter: 26cm

Museum number: X34

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 200help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

This fragment is enriched with two bands of flattened acanthus leaves, of which a good portion of the tops of the upper band is missing as are the tips of the ends of the lower band.

A section of the base for a shaft similar to Soane Museum nos. [check] (Vermeule nos. 193-197). The style of enrichment is close to a similar base in the Conservatori in Rome1, and the roughened circle and circular fastening hole which are more complete in the Rome example also remain here. The hole through the centre served both to anchor the base of a shaft and to join this section at its lower end to the plinth and connecting (acanthus) ornament.

A similar section is shown introduced as a support under the centre of the bowl of a large Bacchic tetrapod-vase engraved by Piranesi and in his time in the collection of Cardinal Albani2. This is another good example of the "archeological" vase compositions often arbitrarily created by the restorers of the neoclassical period - a reason for the popularity of antique fragments in the Rome of Soane's youthful travels.

A good example of a candelabrum 'composed' out of similar fragments is in the Vatican Museum in the Galleria dei Candelabri (Inv. 2667)3. The tips of the acanthus leaves were, as in Soane's fragment, chipped but were restored when the shaft was compiled (Cain, p. 187). See also the 'Barberini' candelabrum (Cain no. 107, engraved by Piranesi WE 935 & 936).

1 The British School at Rome, Catalogue of ancient sculptures preserved in the municipal collections of Rome: The Sculptures of the Palazzo dei Conservatori, H.S. Jones, 2 vols, Oxford, 1926, p.223, no.19, pl.86.
2 G.B. Piranesi, Vasi, candelabri, cippi, sarcofagi tripodi, lucerne, ed ornamenti antichi, fol, Rome, 1779, pl. 33, b. (WE 918? CHECK)
3 Hans-Ulrich Cain, Romische Marmorkandelaber, 1985, no. 103, p. 187, pl. 83,1.

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