Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sarcophagus suspended in time

This post* is about how a 1,000-year-old Roman burial receptacle arrived at an English garden. Auction valuer Guy Schwinge of Duke's was doing a periodic appraisal of an estate in Dorset, U.K., when he spotted something "peeping out from under some bushes" in the garden. It turned out to be 7' (2.1m) of carved white marble, which he recognized to be of "exceptional quality," The 2nd c. sarcophagus was being used as a trough in which to stand flowers by the owners, whose family purchased the item at auction almost 100 years ago. It had been in the collection of royal surveyor Sir John Charles Robinson (1824-1913), founder of the art collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum. It may have been acquired during a grand tour of Europe by Sir Robinson. Before that, indications are that it rested against the wall of a private mauseoleum, presumably containing human remains. How much the marble sarcophagus originally cost - and what became of those ancient remains - is not known. But now that it commands a price of $150,000 (£96,000), it will surely now remain indoors.

*In reference to yesterday's post, Spider suspended in time.
Sarcophagi stacked in the Cabinet:

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