- Museum number
Marble sepulchral chest of Servilia Zosimenes, with a modern inscription.
- Production date
- 2ndC (probably)
Diameter: 30.48 centimetres
Height: 29.21 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Cook 2013, nr. 66:
‘A circular cinerary urn, found near Rome, one foot high, and one foot diameter. The outside is surrounded by six fluted pilasters with Ionic capitals, which support a cornish in the form of a circular Temple, and at equal distances are placed three Priapeid Termini, draped to the middle, dividing the whole into three parts. Three large festoons, composed of Priapeid fruits and flowers, hang down to the bottom betwixt each of the Termini, and small festoons of roses hang under the cornish from the capitals of the pilasters and the heads of the Termini. Two Aphrodite animals are placed at the foot of each Terminus, consisting of a crab, a crawfish, a tortoise, a snail, a frog, and a lizard, which are taking nourishment from the festoons of fruit. over a tablet, in which is the following inscription, are two genii, destroying a sparrow, and sitting upon vases, which are thrown on the sides, and emitting water.
PROSDE• FILIVS•’ (TY 12/3, street drawing room 13).
The provenance ‘near Rome’ is repeated in ST 2, TY 12/5 and GR 2, but Tusculum is specified in GR 1 (Vases, etc., 3), perhaps in error, since the same source gives the year of purchase as 1768. The statement in TY 10/8 that it was found by Gavin Hamilton in the Pantanella at Hadrian’s Villa is evidently an error, carried over from the previous entry in that list.
Bought from Piranesi on 23 February 1772 for 20 Scudi (TY 8/4), rendered as £4.7s. in ST 1 (fo. 18r), rounded up to £5 in TY 10/7. The price is given as 10 Scudi in TY 10/3 (fo. 4) and TY 10/5.
An entry under 22 March 1772 in Townley’s account book (TY 8/4/1) for a payment to Piranesi of 12.30 Scudi for ‘three ant. Maschara’ recurs in ST 1 (fo. 23v) as ‘Three Mascharas in bas relief’ and in TY 10/3 (fo. 8) as ‘a fragmented bas relief of three masks, at £2.7s. I have been unable to make a definitive identification, but see Cook 2011, nr. 332 (1805.7-3.441 = Sculpture 2448).
* Townley drawings 2010,5006.236 and 237; and
2010,5006.1877.18. Townley paid Brenna 12 Scudi on 28 February 1772 for drawing (TY 8/4; ST 1, fo. 23r).
* Engraving, perhaps by Skelton [Susan Hill], TY 13/17/1-10.
- Synopsis of the Contents of the British Museum (1808) V.14.
- Ancient Marbles of the British Museum, V, pl. 4, figs. 1-2.
- A. H. Smith, A Catalogue of Sculpture in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum, Vol. III (London 1904), 355-6, no. 2374.
- Charlotte Scheffer, Roman Cinerary Urns in Stockholm Collections (Medelhavsmuseet Memoir 6. Stockholm 1987), 44, note 88.
- CIL VI.26456 (inscription queried by Wolters and Huebner: Smith)
Additional bibliography: CIL VI 18419; AE 1999, 219.
The inscription on this urn owned by Townley is evidently a copy of CIL VI 18419, which was excavated from a vineyard near S. Agnetis in Rome and read:
FL RVTILIAE ZOZIMENE
QVAE VIXIT ANN XXVI
BENE MERENTI FECIT
The Townley version differs in the name but the rest of the text is virtually identical, suggesting that it was copied from this source. The provenance of the Townley urn is given in the Townley Archive (kept in the G&R department) as from Piranesi’s workshop, but in CIL as the collection of the Cardinal Passionei. The lettering is very similar to the ash chests with modern inscriptions in the collection of Henry Blundell.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number