- Museum number
Marble cinerary chest in the form of a building, inscribed with the names of Marcus Junius Hamillus and his wife Junia Pieris, the latter of whom depicted in a medallion flanked by griffins and pilasters decorated with vines. The pediment contains a groups of birds. A four line inscription in Latin characters is enclosed within a frame.
- Production date
- AD50-150 (probably)
Height: 27.94 centimetres
Width: 35.56 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Cook 2013, nr. 73:
‘A square cinerary urn 14 inches high; on the front is a tablet with the underneath inscription; below it is the portrait of a deified person, placed within a patera betwixt two griffins, the whole closed at the edges by two pilasters decorated with vine branches. M • IVNIVS • M • L • HAMILLVS • SIBI • ET • IVNIAE • PIERIDI • CONIVGI • CARISSIMAE• ’ (TY 12/3).
Bought from Jenkins in 1773 for either £5 (TY 12/1; TY 10/5; TY 10/3, fo. 23; ST 1, fo. 16r) or £6 (TY 10/7).
Said by Townley to be from the Mattei collection (GR 1, TY 12/7/13) but, as Smith pointed out, incorrectly (cf. ‘originis incertae’, CIL). A bill from Jenkins dated 6 February 1773 (TY 8/74/2) lists three objects: ‘an Urn with a figure in it’ at 10 Sequins or 20.50 Scudi; ‘a Basso relievo with three nymphs’ at 25 Sequins or 51.25 Scudi; and ‘an Erme in Rosso of a Bacchante’ at 6 Sequins or 12.30 Scudi. In his account book (TY 8/4) Townley recorded payment in Scudi on 23 February, adding that the figure on the urn was lying on a couch, and that the relief of nymphs had been bought at Naples. The transaction was recorded again in TY 10/2 (fo. 12v). The urn proved to be a problem, since it was at this point reclaimed by Mattei. It was eventually acquired by Townley, at a higher price, in 1779 (see no. 234). Meanwhile in the transcript accounts (TY 10/2) Townley recorded a payment of 8.20 Scudi in 1773 ‘in exchange for two cinerario urns instead of the one with a fig lying down wh was claimed by ye Mattei’. This sum appears to be a supplement to the 20.50 Scudi already paid for the Mattei urn, making a total of 28.70 Scudi for the pair. I have found no description of either urn in Townley’s records of this transaction sufficiently detailed to confirm their identification, but it seems probable that they should be identified with two cinerary urns said elsewhere to have been acquired from Jenkins in 1773, especially as both are incorrectly stated by Townley to have come from the Mattei collection. What seems to have happened is that in associating the urns with the Mattei collection Townley was misremembering the details of their acquisition: they were not themselves from the Mattei collection, but their acquisition from Jenkins was partly financed by a credit for Townley’s previous payment for the reclaimed urn.
Townley drawings 2010,5006.294 and 296, the latter annotated ‘G. Kirtland Del 1795’.
2nd half of I cent. or a little later (Sinn).
- Synopsis of the Contents of the British Museum (1808) V.27.
- Ancient Marbles of the British Museum, V, pl. 7, fig. 3.
- A. H. Smith, A Catalogue of Sculpture in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum, Vol. III (London 1904), 352-3, no. 2367.
- Susan Walker, Memorials to the Roman Dead (London 1985), 53, fig. 43.
- Friederike Sinn, Stadrömische Marmorurnen (Mainz am Rhein 1987), 166, no. 298; pl. 52 d-e.
- CIL VI.20794.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2013 – 2014, 21 September - 5 January, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Empire – Roman Power & People
2014, 25 January - 27 April, Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Empire – Roman Power & People
2014, 17 May - 31 August, Coventry, The Herbert, Empire – Roman Power & People
2014 – 2015, 20 September - 4 January, Leeds City Museum, Empire – Roman Power & People
2015, 24 January - 10 May, Dundee, The McManus, Empire – Roman Power & People
2015, 30 May - 13 September, Newcastle, Segedunum Roman Fort, Empire – Roman Power & People
2018 23 Feb – 22 Apr, Nashville, Frist Art Museum, 'Rome; City &Empire'
2018-2019 20 Sep-04 Feb, Canberra, National Museum of Australia, 'Rome; City &Empire'
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number