About this object

Double rectangular ash chest of Lepidia Privata and M. Lepidius Epigonus. Despite the double inscription there is only one cavity in the chest. The decoration is only at the front while at the side corners the remnants of Ammon heads and eagles in a recessed panel. The Ammon heads are too big and the sculptor masy have found it difficult to represent them in a convincing way. The heads have some detailed modelling and their beards and hair are stylised but regular curls of possibly the 2nd century AD. The eagles are also schematically represented and smaller than the Ammon heads, their feathers made in roughl chisel strokes. A laurel garland slungs from the horns to the lower part of the front. The garland is small and rope like and follows the shape of the inscription panel rather than in an arc. Details of leaves and berries are on the garland but in a very low relief. Above the inscription is an abstract pattern of pairs of wavy lines, possibly a ribbon (taeniae) . Above the bottom at the front there is a moulding with a single line and the traces of similar moulding at the top are heavily eroded. The back is roughly worked and so is the interior cavity. The top edge is not shaped for a lid and there are no clamp holes. The sides are partially finished.
The inscriptions are to the left:
LEPIDIA.M.(arci) ) (=Gaiae ) l (iberta)/Private/vixit annis XV
Lepidia Privata, wife of Marcus, freedwoman of Caia, lived 15 years
To the right:
M(arcus) Lepidius/Epigonus
Marcus Lepidius Epigonus
Lepidia Privata was very young when she was married at fifteen and was probably freed from being a slave also very young. She may have been married to Lepidius Epigonus buried in the same chest, though it is not clear from the inscription.
The chest was acquired from the Mattei collection and may have been found in Via Appia. It appeared in the Monumenta Matthaeiana with some damage or weathering and with a lid that did not seem to enter Blundell's collection. In the Engravings volume it is shown with lid 59.148.313b which is a bit too wide for it was most likely not the original lid. At the right hand corner above the inscription there is a small triangular area of restoration and a circular hole near the base has been plugged, there is a crack on the right side of the chest, a large hole through the base and two small holes in the lower part of the back with metal pipes inside them. The holes may suggest that it was once used as part of a fountain.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Religion
  • Culture
    Roman Imperial
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
    150 - 70 (Antonine)
  • Materials
    Marble
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Col. Joseph W Weld, 1959
  • Collector
    Henry Blundell
  • Place collected
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date collected
    1789
  • Measurements
    240 mm x 475 mm x 290 mm
  • Note
    Davies (2007) commented that the design is unoriginal and perhaps the product of a workshop serving lower classes.
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell ( Collector, previous owner); Ciriaco Mattei ( Previous owner); Giuseppe Mattei ( Previous owner); Joseph William Weld ( Previous owner)

Explore related

Publications

  • Ancient Marbles in Great Britain

    Michaelis, A

    Author: Michaelis, A
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    Date: 1882
    Description:

  • Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum

    Author:
    Publisher: Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften
    Date:
    Description:

  • Monumenta Matthaeiana

    Venuti, R; Armadutio, J C

    Author: Venuti, R; Armadutio, J C
    Publisher:
    Date: 1778
    Description:

  • The Ince Blundell Collection of Classical Sculpture. Volume 2 - The Ash Chests and other Funerary Reliefs

    Davies, Glenys

    Author: Davies, Glenys
    Publisher: Verlag Philipp von Zabern
    Date: 2007
    Description:

Ownership

Previous owners

  • Joseph William Col Sir Weld

    Owned from: 1958
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1959
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Henry Blundell

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1810
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Giuseppe Mattei

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Ciriaco Mattei

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1614
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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