Ro­man relic un­earthed at Blen­heim

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

AN old flow­er­pot in the grounds of Blen­heim Palace, Ox­ford­shire, has been found to ac­tu­ally be a Ro­man sar­coph­a­gus worth £300,000.

The 1,700-year-old mar­ble cof­fin— which fea­tures a frieze de­pict­ing an ine­bri­ated Diony­sus, a drunken satyr and other rev­ellers in­clud­ing Her­cules and Ari­adne—has been out in the rock gar­den, ex­posed to the el­e­ments and used as a tulip planter, for 100 years; be­fore that, it was used as a trough at the base of a foun­tain. The dis­cov­ery was made by chance, when an an­tiques dealer vis­ited.

Be­lieved to have been brought to Blen­heim by the 5th Duke of Marl­bor­ough in the 19th cen­tury, the 6ft 6in-long sar­coph­a­gus is one of the few items the Duke kept hold of af­ter mount­ing debts led to the sale of his col­lec­tions. Once home to the earthly re­mains of a Ro­man noble, it has now un­der­gone ex­ten­sive con­ser­va­tion work and is on dis­play in­side the palace.

Nicholas Ban­field, of Clive­den Con­ser­va­tion, who has over­seen the restora­tion, com­ments: ‘The piece is ac­tu­ally in re­mark­able con­di­tion con­sid­er­ing it has with­stood seem­ingly ag­gres­sive en­vi­ron­ments, par­tic­u­larly that of a foun­tain re­cep­ta­cle.’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.