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Roman Lamp



Terracotta oil lamp made in central Italy, 1st century AD, and featuring a racing chariot. The upper portion of the lamp was assembled from a number of fragments by a conservator at the Rhenish State Museum in Trier, Germany (an institution with an extensive collection of Roman material). The lamp was formerly in a German collection.


The British Museum's Catalogue of Greek and Roman Lamps (from 1914) describes a similar example (alas however, not illustrated): "Within a moulded rim, a biga galloping to l., the charioteer leaning forward, wearing long chiton with fasciae round waist, brandishing goad in r. hand and holding reins in l." Their lamp also matches this example in size, and was described as having been found in Pozzuoli; it was bequeathed to the museum by Sir William Temple, in 1856.


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pantheon

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Registered: January 2004
Location: Michigan
Posts: 330
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Date: May 20, 2009
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4to2centophilia

Registered User
Beautiful example. Not your "run of the mill" lamp. Perfect for torch lit reading of rare antiquarian books.
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"When you are in Rome live in the Roman style; when you are elsewhere live as they live elsewhere" St. Ambrose (340-397) to St. Augustine.
#1 May 20, 2009 8:05pm

pantheon

Registered User
My many thanks to Dr. Andrew Shapland, one of the curators in the Greek & Roman antiquities departments, at the British Museum, who kindly E-Mailed photographs to me of their lamp (Q796), which though very similar to this lamp, is not from the same mold. Soon, these photographs, I am told, will be available to all at the museum's website (which has a search engine for antiquities, coins, and other objects of art). The lamps are so similar in design and size however, that doubtless a common prototype was being followed by the lamp makers. The museum's example shows the horse (closest to the viewer) with its head more upright, and the further horse's head looking a bit downward (just the opposite in this example); also, a small part of the second chariot wheel is visible on the museum's lamp, unlike this example. Moreover, there is the mark of a cross on the bottom of my lamp, which is not present on the London example, perhaps indicating a different workshop.
William Joy
#2 July 1, 2011 4:44pm


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