- Museum number
Pottery: red-figured hydria (water-jar).
Woman reading, and three attendants. The reader, seated in a chair to right, bends forward over a scroll, of which a portion unrolled shows dots representing sixteen lines of writing arranged στοιχηδόν (stoichedon – arranged vertically as well as horizontally, in a grid-like fasion). The women on either side of her stand to front looking inwards, and wear Doric chiton with apoptygma, tied; the one on left has left resting on hip, and holds up in right an object like a large plectrum or purse (?): she has a purple fillet wound thrice round her looped-up hair. The other holds up on her right a square box of wicker. The seated figure and the one on the extreme right wear sleeved chitoi and himation. The one on extreme right wears a radiate dotted sphendone, and hold up in right a flower: all the three on right wear a dotted fillet with rays, wound twice around the hair. Over the seated figure hangs an embroidered cap with strings
Good period, but drawing a little careless. Purple rays, fillet and strings of cap. Eye in developed profile.
- Production date
- 450BC (circa)
Height: 33.02 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- The scene closely resembles one on a hydria at Athens (Inv. no. 1260, Museo Ital, ii pl. 6), where the seated figure is labelled with the name 'Sappho'. This has led to the women depicted in the British Museum vase to be identified as the same person, both presumably the famous poet of Lesbos. Other images of Sappho on Greek vases, starting from the early 5th century BC, are less ambiguous, such as scenes with the poet Alkaios.
- On display (G69/dc6)
- Cracked, but otherwise intact.
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number