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Home > Auctions > 25th February 2020 > Roman Lamp with Dionysus Holding Eros

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LOT 0120

GBP (£) 6,000 - 8,000
EUR (€) 7,040 - 9,390
USD ($) 7,830 - 10,440

Opening Bid
£6,000 (EUR 7,043; USD 7,828) (+bp*)

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Bid History: 0

Roman Lamp with Dionysus Holding Eros

1st-2nd century AD

A large elaborate bronze oil lamp with eight broad concentric rings to the discoid body, volute scroll nozzle with lateral quatrefoil rosettes, arched round-section handle developing to an acanthus-leaf with Dionysus (Bacchus) emerging nude from the centre, holding an apple(?) in his extended right hand and supporting a separately made figure of Eros (Cupid) in his left hand; Eros shown nude with a similar fruit in his right hand. 2.2 kg, 28.5cm (11 1/4"). Fine condition.

Property of a London gentleman; previously acquired on the UK art market in the 1990s.

A very similar for the body in Bailey D. M., Lamps of Metal and Stone, and Lampstands Vol. 4, 1996, and A Catalogue of the Lamps in the British Museum, London, Q 3650, p.34, pl.38.

The majority of the lamps used in the Roman empire had a decorated discus and were mass-produced in workshops, which met the ubiquitous demand for lighting. In the late Roman era,
Christian symbols and inscriptions gave tangible signs of the spread of new religious beliefs, but in classical times the lamps often carried images of the Olympian gods. Notable for their great diversity, the lamps, like this item, show hundreds of distinct iconographic motifs, reflecting changing fashions and a rich repertoire of images drawn from mythology and religion, the occupations and entertainments of daily life, and the natural world.