Cinerarium (ash-chest)

Roman, c70 – 100AD

Marble, 52.7 x 49.8 x 45.2cm
Accession Number LL11

Cinerarium, Roman

The inscription reveals that this urn was made for the ashes of Caius Perperna Geminus, who died at the age of sixty-eight, by his heirs Caius Perperna Agathopus, Saturnina and Fortunata, a freedman and two freedwomen. This panel and the surrounding harpies, birds and garland of fruit are largely antique.

The urn was discovered in tombs in Siena in the early 18th century, but later belonged to the sculptor Bartolomeo Cavaceppi. He was probably responsible for the restorations – the lid, carved with reclining sphynxes, the base, with cornucopiae and flowers and the ornament on the semicircular back. It was bought by Thomas Hope from Lord Bessborough in 1801.