- Museum number
Green basanite bath with ring-shaped handles decorated with ivy leaves.
- Production date
Height: 88 centimetres
Width: 188.50 centimetres
Depth: 84.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Cook 2011, nr. 190:
‘A Labrum of Egyptian green Basaltes; on the sides are carved two rings in imitation of handles, in the center of which is a leaf of Ivy. it is six feet four inches long, three feet broad and three feet high, and formerly belonged to the Museum of Christine Queen of Sweden’ (TY 12/3, hall 25).
Bequeathed by Queen Christina to the Duke of Odescalchi, from whose heir, the Duke of Bracciano, it was acquired by Jenkins in 1776. Bought by Townley from Jenkins for £200. It was first mentioned by Jenkins together with the granite basin (1805,0703.228) in a letter dated 5 June 1776 (TY 7/356). Jenkins attempted to stir Townley’s interest by remarking that Lyde Browne would ‘lick his lips at them’, but might be staggered at the price: £300 for the pair. On 17 July 1776, Jenkins enclosed a sketch (perhaps Townley drawing 2010,5006.1834). The labrum was then with Albacini, who had a share in it. The price agreed for Townley was £200, although for Lyde Browne the price would be rather higher: 600 Sequins (almost £300). Albacini also had a pair of feet (1805,0703.273 and 1805,0703.274), not originally belonging to the labrum but, according to Jenkins, ancient (TY 7/358). By 15 August, the labrum was on its way (TY 7/359), and on 4 September, Jenkins enclosed a Bill of Lading for the labrum and the feet (TY 7/360). The labrum later appeared at £200 in a bill from Jenkins (TY 8/74/16), in Townley’s transcript of the bill (TY 8/75/5), and in the ‘Union Catalogue’ (fo. 61r), as well as in the priced lists (TY 10/5-7), in TY 12/1 and in TY 10/3 (fo. 26).
Basalt used from last ¼ I AD to Hadrianic period (Gasparri); I-II AD (Pasqua); late I - early II AD (Ambrogi).
* Townley drawing 2010,5006.1834;
* Chambers: B. F. Cook, `The Townley Marbles in Westminster and Bloomsbury’, The British Museum Yearbook, 2 (1977), 48-49, figs. 30-31, no. 37.
- Synopsis of the Contents of the British Museum (1808), X.81;
- A Guide to the Graeco-Roman Sculptures in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, 2 vols. (London, 1874  and 1876), II, no. 122;
- A. H. Smith, A Catalogue of Sculpture in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum, Vol. III (London 1904), 412, no. 2542;
- B. F. Cook, The Townley Marbles (London, 1985), 25 (labrum in foreground of figs. 1 and 57);
- P. C. Boll (ed.), Forschungen zur Villa Albani. Katalog der antiken Bildwerke II. Bildwerke in den Portiken, dem Vestibül und der Kapelle des Casino (Berlin, 1990), 139, no. 10 (C. Gasparri);
- A. Ambrogi, Vasche di età romana in marmi bianchi e colorati (Rome, 1995), 60, 120, no. B. I. 44 (bibl.), ill. on 230;
- R. Belli Pasqua, Sculture de età romana in ‘basalto’. Xenia Antiqua Monografie 2 (Rome, 1995), 112, no. 81, pl. 79.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
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'
2021 13 Feb-15 Aug, Belgium, Tongeren, Gallo-Romeins Museum, 'Rome; City & Empire'
2021-2022 Aug - Oct, China, Suzhou Museum, 'Rome; City & Empire'
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number