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  • image Image 1 for M971
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Cinerary vase with ammon heads, bukrania and garlands

Second half 1st century AD

Grey Greek island marble

Height: 75cm, maximum
Height (excluding lid): 46cm
Height (base): 17cm
Height (frieze): 20cm
Circumference (lid): 72cm
Circumference: 120cm, maximum, approximately
Width (bottom of base): 24cm, maximum
Length (bottom of base): 24cm

Museum number: M971

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 346help-vermeule-catalogue-number

On display: Dome Area
All spaces are in No. 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields unless identified as in No. 12, Soane's first house. For tours https://www.soane.org/your-visit

Curatorial note

Below two Ammon heads on opposite sides, a frieze of pendant bucrania and four garlands, the other ends of which run beneath the Ammon heads. In the area above the garlands, a crane, insects, and birds pecking at fruit, lizards, and each other. The remainder of the lid and bowl is fluted in varying patterns of low relief. For a parallel, probably from the same sources, compare the large, heavy urn with foliate enrichment and two Ammon masks in the Uffizi, Florence1. For the purposes of classical rather than neo-classical archaeology, a cinerary vase in the Museo Nuovo Capitolino, Rome, is of more modern provenance, is unbroken, and is nearly unrestored. This vase was found near the Via di Ostia and not only features a similar large opposite pair of Ammon masks but a shape analogous to the Soane example. Mustilli2 dates the vase to the second half of the First Century AD.

1 No. 303; Photo Alinari no.29346; W. Amelung, Führer durch die Antiken in Florenz, Munich, 1897, p.83; with a restored (?) Greek inscription in the name plate, and from an English collection formed in the period of Soane's purchases, no.206 (M459) from the Deepdene Sale (Christie's 23 July 1917) and now in the collection at Broadlands, Hampshire.
2 Museo Mussolini, p. 44, no. 26.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Sale of the collection of Aubrey Beauclerk, 5th Duke of St Albans, Christie's 29 April 1801, Lot 99 'An elegant cinerary vase and cover, of oval forms, with handles of Priapeid heads, and ornaments with ram's heads, festoons, &c.'. Shown in J. Gandy's watercolour 'The Back Parlour', Pitzhanger Manor, (before 1810).


Description of Sir John Soane's Museum, 1930, p.84, fig. 50 (lower centre).
Jonathan Yarker and Clare Hornsby, 'A speculative Grand Tour excavation: Aubrey Beauclerk, Thomas Brand and Thomas Jenkins at Centocelle', The British Art Journal, Vol. 11, No. 3 (Spring 2011), pp.21-29: see pp.26-27 and f.n.91.

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