Bronze lampstand

Roman, 1st century AD
From 'Torre Annunziata' (Oplontis on the Bay of Naples), Italy

A victim of Mount Vesuvius

The bronze shaft and tripod feet of this lampstand are covered with numerous small knobs in imitation of branches, a common decorative technique for lampstands in this period. The top, shaped like a crater, is decorated with a wreath inlaid with silver leaves. The small tray on top of the crater, which would originally have supported a bronze lamp, is missing.

Greek examples of lampstands that date from the seventh century BC are known, but most examples in the Museum's collection come from the Roman period, in particular the early empire (first and second centuries AD). Bronze lampstands such as these were an important part of the furnishings of wealthier Roman households. The blue and green patches on the bronze are typical of bronze objects found in volcanic deposits. Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis and other sites were covered with such deposits after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.

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More information


D. Bailey, A catalogue of the lamps in -2, vol. 4 (London, 1997)

S. Walker, Roman art (London, 1991)


Height: 130.000 cm
Width: 23.500 cm

Museum number

GR 1856.12-26.999 (Bronze 2547)


Bequeathed by Sir William Temple


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