- Museum number
Marble altar dedicated to Diana by Aurelius Thimoteus. The scenes on the sides of the altar show a satyr giving a drink to a boy, a man pouring liquid from an amphora in to a barrel, while a woman waits with a small jar, and a woman sacrificing a cockerel to the fertility god Priapus.
- Production date
- 3rdC (probably)
Height: 27.94 centimetres
Width: 25.40 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Cook 2011, nr. 293:
‘A votive square alter sacred to the Goddess Diana, as it appears by the Inscription, which is engraved on one of the sides, and is transcribed as follows. The other three sides present in bas relief compositions allusive to the Eleusinian Mysteries, recognising in the alternate revolutions of dissolution and reproduction in nature the powers of the Supreme Deity, by which he regulates the universe. It is about twenty inches high, and was brought from Rome to England by the first Lord Holland 1761
AVR · THIMO
TEVS · DEAE · DI
D · V · D ·
(Parlour Catalogue owned by Simon Townley, street parlour 36).
The first Baron Holland was Henry Fox (1705-1774). The altar was acquired in 1792 from his third son, Charles James Fox (1749-1806), with Nollekens as intermediary. Nollekens wrote to Townley on 17 September 1792 (TY 7/2182), enclosing a letter from Fox, which seems not to have survived. This letter may have been Townley’s source of information on Lord Holland’s acquisition of the altar. Townley replied to Nollekens expressing interest in a number of objects (TY 7/2183 is a copy of his letter), but Fox replied on 23 September that he was unwilling to part with some of them. He did, however, agree to sell the votive altar at Nollekens’s valuation of eight Guineas (TY 7/2184). On 21 December, Townley wrote to Fox sending the eight Guineas, recording the transaction on the same day in the Wigan Accounts.
* Townley drawings 2010,5006.309.
- Synopsis of the Contents of the British Museum (1808), VI.50;
- A. H. Smith, A Catalogue of Sculpture in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum, Vol. III (London 1904), 386-7, no. 2489, fig.62;
- CIL VI, 123.
Schraudolph, E. (1993) Römische Götterweihungen mit Reliefschmuck aus Italien: Altäre, Basen und Reliefs (Verlag Archäologie und Geschichte).
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number