223. Girl on a Dolphin

223. Girl on a Dolphin

H: 7.6 cm. W: 7.7 cm
Provenance: no indication
Metropolitan Rome
27 B.C.-A.D. 14 (Augustan)

Ex collection:
Stanley Casson

Solid-cast by the lost wax process save for a hollow pipe-like section running through and protruding from the dolphin's head, at the back it is circled by a special section for attachment (with traces of soldering). The eyes of the dolphin inlaid with tenorite (CuO, a black copper oxide).

Condition: patina a dark olive green, and yellowish, reddish or bronze medal colour showing through in a few small places. A crack through the right wrist and another halfway through the dolphin's tail. Part of the tenorite inlay of the eyes missing.

The girl seated on the dolphin is probably Aphrodite [1] or a Nereid [2].

The ensemble formed the spout of a small table fountain, an object of refinement and prestige in a wealthy Roman household.

Exhibited and Published:
Master Bronzes, cat. no. 304, p. 303 ill.
Pompeii, cat. no. 243, p. 136 ill.

Delivorrias, A.: LIMC II, 1, no. 979, p. 101.

1 A. Delivorrias (LIMC II, 1, no. 979, p. 101) lists her among his examples of Aphrodite riding a dolphin.

2 LIMC VI, 1, p. 791 (N. Icard-Gianolio, A.-V. Szabados), where Nereids are mentioned as often associated with fountains.