Lot 549: Greek Eastern Hellenistic Couch Foot
December 6, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: 3rd-1st century BC. A hollow repoussé silver foot from a couch or stool formed as a tiered foot and baluster with broad lotus-leaf collar, lion's claw with swept curves to the rear, bust of Diana or a maenad, with acanthus leaves and lateral palmettes, biconvex rim. Similar examples to this foot, dating to the Roman period, can be seen on the complete triclinium couches now in the Museo dei Conservatori, Rome, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (accession number 17.190.2076), and The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore (accession number 54.2365"). Accompanied by an Art Loss Register certificate. 176 grams, 20cm (8"). Property of a North West London gentleman; formerly with a central London gallery in 1990. Accompanied by a positive X-Ray Fluorescence metal analysis certificate. The foot most likely came from a couch for use in a Triclinium, which was a formal dining room that has its origins in the early Greek period. The word Triclinium comes from the Greek meaning three couches and this reflects the arrangement of couches, or klinai, in a U shape where banqueters would recline and with a table in the centre for the food and wine. The custom of using klinai while taking a meal rather than sitting became popular among the Greeks in the early seventh century BC. From here it spread to their colonies in southern Italy and was eventually adopted by the Etruscans and then the Romans. The furniture, as well as the dining rooms, were elaborately decorated with subjects mainly drawn from themes relating to the god Dionysus, patron of wine and feasting, but other deties, such as Venus were also popular. Examples of the couches have been found at the sites in the area of the Bay of Naples destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius, such as Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae. The use of a precious metal on this example would mark it out as being used by an elite member of society when hosting banquets. The paired partner to this example was sold in TimeLine Auctions sale 61, 27-30 May 2015, lot 14.
Condition Report: Fine condition, cracked, slightly distorted. Very rare.