• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 12256

    Antiquities

    12 April 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 55

    TWO ROMAN WALL PAINTING FRAGMENTS

    CIRCA MID 1ST CENTURY A.D.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    TWO ROMAN WALL PAINTING FRAGMENTS
    CIRCA MID 1ST CENTURY A.D.
    Each on an orange-yellow ground, depicting a turquoise peacock, one striding right, one striding left, with a curving neck, an articulated head crest and long tail feathers detailed in dark red, standing on an intricate white lattice-pattern band above a horizontal deep-red groundline
    Each: 12 7/8 in. x 13 3/8 in. (32.7 cm. x 34 cm.)


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    Appropriately, dining rooms in ancient villas at seaside cities like Pompeii and Herculaneum were frequently decorated with frescoes depicting food. The peacocks featured in these reliefs are no exception, as the exotic bird was considered a delicacy in Roman cuisine. In Petronius' Satyricon, the gaudy freedman Trimalchio includes peacock eggs on his banquet menu as a means to show off his wealth and self-perceived sophistication to his dinner guests. A matching fragment to these frescoes, featuring a peacock strutting to the right, can be found at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (MH 1958.5.C.PI).

    Provenance

    Levine Family, Cromer, Norfolk, U.K., prior to 1914.
    Lord McAlpine of Westgreen, U.K.
    with Royal-Athena Galleries, New York, acquired from the above, 1988.
    Acquired by the current owner from the above, 1988.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF CHARLES BRICKBAUER, BALTIMORE