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hydria

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1856,1001.140

  • Description

    Pottery: red figure hydria.
    (1) The toilet of Helen. In the centre Helen is seated in a chair to right, her right arm hanging over the back of the chair, raising with her left hand an edge of drapery from her shoulder: she wears a chiton, which has been indicated in brown lines against the white flesh, but is now only faintly traceable, a mantle around her lower limbs with a rich border of rays and other patterns, and a chequered sphendone and fillet radiated and beaded; above her is her name, ΕΛΕΝΗ, 'Έλενη. The seat of her chair is drawn as projecting beyond the back. Beside her, on a level with her head, Pothos crouches to left on his left knee, and is occupied in arranging the fillet on her forehead; he has long wavy hair, knotted behind; over his forehead are three white rays, and above him his name, ΠΟΘΟΣ, Πόθος. On the right four women, and on the left three, stand or sit, looking on. The first on the right stands to left before a small brazier (?) or thymiaterion from which flames arise (the lower part is lost): she wears a chequered sphendone and an ivy wreath. Next behind her is one seated to right on a lower level, wearing a radiated fillet, who turns her head to look at Helen; above her, ΚΑΛΗ, καλή. Next is Cleio, who wears a radiated fillet and a sphendone, and leans forward to left, resting her left hand on her hip, her right arm on her right knee, the right foot on raised ground; above her is her name, ΚΛΕΩ, Κλε(ι)ώ. Last on the right is one with hair knotted, a radiated fillet ending in trefoils, seated to right, looking round, with right arm (missing) resting on a tympanon (?), and with left hand raising the drapery from her shoulder. On the left of Helen a woman stands in three-quarter face to right, but looking full to right, and holding in her right a long palmette fan; the woman behind her leans with her left arm on the shoulder of her companion, resting her right hand on her hip; they both seem to wear the same head-dress, a chequered sphendone with radiated fillet, though in the case of the first the lower part of the head is broken away. Above these figures is inscribed ΚΑΛΗ, καλή. The last figure on the left exactly balances the last on the right; she wears a chequered sphendone and an ivy wreath. All these women wear a long tied chiton, earrings, bracelets, and a necklace, except Cleio, who has no necklace.
    (2) Group of women. Of this scene only three figures on the left are preserved in anything like completeness. First on left, under the handle, a woman in a long chiton with a double vertical stripe at the side, her hair knotted with a fillet, sits to right looking downwards. Next is a woman in a similar dress, who leans against the trunk of a tree to right, and with her right extended holds out a string of beads towards some figure now missing. Between these two is part of a branch of laurel, which may have been held in the hand of the seated figure. Then a woman with long hair dressed like those in 1, who sits to right, raising with her left the edge of drapery on her shoulder. These women wear jewellery like those in 1. Here the design is broken away. Proceeding to right there appear to be the feet of two persons in long chitons, and the foot, raised, of a third; and then, after a gap, the left foot of a person walking to right. Sprigs of laurel with berries sprout on the ground-line of 2.
    White with brownish yellow details laid on the red ground for the flesh of Helena, for the inscriptions, flames and jewellery, and laurel berries. No ground-line. The design is arranged in two friezes: 1, on the shoulder; 2, on the body. Below, a strip (also finishing below the side handles) of sets of three maeanders separated by dotted chequer squares; round the neck, upright palmette pattern; round the lip and the insertions of each handle, egg pattern. Owing to the fracture it is difficult to decide whether 1 and 2 were separated by a pattern; apparently not.

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  • Producer name

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 450BC-400BC
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Ware

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 15.45 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
  • Curator's comments

    BM Cat. Vases

    Roscher, s.v. Helena, p. 1958; Furtwangler, Eros in der Vasenm. p. 49; Mon. Grecs., nos. 21-2 (1893-4), p. 1; cf. Smith, Dict. Ant.3 ii, p. 411.
    Engelmann, in Roscher, loc. cit., suggests the presence of Cleio as referring to the άοίδιμοι εσσομένοισιν.

  • Bibliography

    • Old Catalogue C4 bibliographic details
    • Vase E226 bibliographic details
    • CVA British Museum 6 III Ic Pl. 95, 1 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Condition

    About half the design and one side-handle missing. Greatly restored.

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1856

  • Department

    Greek & Roman Antiquities

  • Registration number

    1856,1001.140

Pottery: red figure hydria.   (1) The toilet of Helen. In the centre Helen is seated in a chair to right, her right arm hanging over the back of the chair, raising with her left hand an edge of drapery from her shoulder: she wears a chiton, which has been  indicated in brown lines against the white flesh, but is now only faintly traceable, a mantle around her lower limbs with a rich border of rays and other patterns, and a chequered sphendone and fillet radiated and beaded; above her is her name, ?????, '??e??. The seat of her chair is drawn as projecting beyond the back. Beside her, on a level with her head, Pothos crouches to left on his left knee, and is occupied in arranging the fillet on her forehead; he has long wavy hair, knotted behind; over his forehead are three white rays, and above him his name, ??T?S, ?????. On the right four women, and on the left three, stand or sit, looking on. The first on the right stands to left before a small brazier (?) or thymiaterion from which flames arise (the lower part is lost): she wears a chequered sphendone and an ivy wreath. Next behind her is one seated to right on a lower level, wearing a radiated fillet, who turns her head to look at Helen; above her, ????, ?a??. Next is Cleio, who wears a radiated fillet and a sphendone, and leans forward to left, resting her left hand on her hip, her right arm on her right knee, the right foot on raised ground; above her is her name, ???O, ??e(?)?. Last on the right is one with hair knotted, a radiated fillet ending in trefoils, seated to right, looking round, with right arm (missing) resting on a tympanon (?), and with left hand raising the drapery from her shoulder. On the left of Helen a woman stands in three-quarter face to right, but looking full to right, and holding in her right a long palmette fan; the woman behind her leans with her left arm on the shoulder of her companion, resting her right hand on her hip; they both seem to wear the same head-dress, a chequered sphendone with radiated fillet, though in the case of the first the lower part of the head is broken away. Above these figures is inscribed ????, ?a??. The last figure on the left exactly balances the last on the right; she wears a chequered sphendone and an ivy wreath. All these women wear a long tied chiton, earrings, bracelets, and a necklace, except Cleio, who has no necklace.  (2) Group of women. Of this scene only three figures on the left are preserved in anything like completeness. First on left, under the handle, a woman in a long chiton with a double vertical stripe at the side, her hair knotted with a fillet, sits to right looking downwards. Next is a woman in a similar dress, who leans against the trunk of a tree to right, and with her right extended holds out a string of beads towards some figure now missing. Between these two is part of a branch of laurel, which may have been held in the hand of the seated figure. Then a woman with long hair dressed like those in 1, who sits to right, raising with her left the edge of drapery on her shoulder. These women wear jewellery like those in 1. Here the design is broken away. Proceeding to right there appear to be the feet of two persons in long chitons, and the foot, raised, of a third; and then, after a gap, the left foot of a person walking to right. Sprigs of laurel with berries sprout on the ground-line of 2.  White with brownish yellow details laid on the red ground for the flesh of Helena, for the inscriptions, flames and jewellery, and laurel berries. No ground-line. The design is arranged in two friezes: 1, on the shoulder; 2, on the body. Below, a strip (also finishing below the side handles) of sets of three maea

Side : left

Pottery: red figure hydria. (1) The toilet of Helen. In the centre Helen is seated in a chair to right, her right arm hanging over the back of the chair, raising with her left hand an edge of drapery from her shoulder: she wears a chiton, which has been indicated in brown lines against the white flesh, but is now only faintly traceable, a mantle around her lower limbs with a rich border of rays and other patterns, and a chequered sphendone and fillet radiated and beaded; above her is her name, ?????, '??e??. The seat of her chair is drawn as projecting beyond the back. Beside her, on a level with her head, Pothos crouches to left on his left knee, and is occupied in arranging the fillet on her forehead; he has long wavy hair, knotted behind; over his forehead are three white rays, and above him his name, ??T?S, ?????. On the right four women, and on the left three, stand or sit, looking on. The first on the right stands to left before a small brazier (?) or thymiaterion from which flames arise (the lower part is lost): she wears a chequered sphendone and an ivy wreath. Next behind her is one seated to right on a lower level, wearing a radiated fillet, who turns her head to look at Helen; above her, ????, ?a??. Next is Cleio, who wears a radiated fillet and a sphendone, and leans forward to left, resting her left hand on her hip, her right arm on her right knee, the right foot on raised ground; above her is her name, ???O, ??e(?)?. Last on the right is one with hair knotted, a radiated fillet ending in trefoils, seated to right, looking round, with right arm (missing) resting on a tympanon (?), and with left hand raising the drapery from her shoulder. On the left of Helen a woman stands in three-quarter face to right, but looking full to right, and holding in her right a long palmette fan; the woman behind her leans with her left arm on the shoulder of her companion, resting her right hand on her hip; they both seem to wear the same head-dress, a chequered sphendone with radiated fillet, though in the case of the first the lower part of the head is broken away. Above these figures is inscribed ????, ?a??. The last figure on the left exactly balances the last on the right; she wears a chequered sphendone and an ivy wreath. All these women wear a long tied chiton, earrings, bracelets, and a necklace, except Cleio, who has no necklace. (2) Group of women. Of this scene only three figures on the left are preserved in anything like completeness. First on left, under the handle, a woman in a long chiton with a double vertical stripe at the side, her hair knotted with a fillet, sits to right looking downwards. Next is a woman in a similar dress, who leans against the trunk of a tree to right, and with her right extended holds out a string of beads towards some figure now missing. Between these two is part of a branch of laurel, which may have been held in the hand of the seated figure. Then a woman with long hair dressed like those in 1, who sits to right, raising with her left the edge of drapery on her shoulder. These women wear jewellery like those in 1. Here the design is broken away. Proceeding to right there appear to be the feet of two persons in long chitons, and the foot, raised, of a third; and then, after a gap, the left foot of a person walking to right. Sprigs of laurel with berries sprout on the ground-line of 2. White with brownish yellow details laid on the red ground for the flesh of Helena, for the inscriptions, flames and jewellery, and laurel berries. No ground-line. The design is arranged in two friezes: 1, on the shoulder; 2, on the body. Below, a strip (also finishing below the side handles) of sets of three maea

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