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sculpture



Reference Name LCNCC : 1906.10906

part of a Roman monument with figures in niches on three sides

Physical Dimensions:

  • length: 370 mm
  • width: 520 mm
  • height: 640 mm
  • diameter: mm

Material: stone

Quantity: 1

Completeness: %

Period: Romano-British

Place Name: Newland

Place Name: Lincoln

Place Name: Lincolnshire

Place Name: UK

Commentary: Among the small number Roman sculptures found in Lincoln is a part of a monument said to have been found in Newland. It is a four-sided base, badly weathered, and on three of the sides sculptured figures remain; one male and two females. It has been variously described in the past; Richmond identified the male figure as 'a sort of genius, perhaps Bonus Eventus', and this idea is followed by Toynbee and Green. German scholars, however, see the whole as an element in a Jupiter Column. Whatever the interpretation of the sculpture, its findspot is now clarified by a letter from George Betham, a Lincoln architect, to Sir Edward Bromhead Bt of Thurlby Hall, dated 1845. This letter is given here in full: Honoured Sir, Knowing your attachment to the history of the Arts and Sciences in all ages of our country, and also to the antiquities of our own locality, I feel the more pleasure in obliging Miss Tilphaire by forwarding to you some account of the so called "Roman Altar" which was presented to the cathedral dignitaries, some two months ago, as worthy of a place in their Cloister Museum by Hon. Wm. Hutton and Thos. Hutton Esquires. It was purchased by the late H. Hutton Esq. of Lincoln from some excavators employed on the site of the ancient City west wall, that wall which was continued from the south west corner of Roman Lindum to "Lucy Tower" so styled, on the north side of Brayford. The Altar with many other of similar relics had evidently been used for the derogatory purpose of filling in the "subtle masoning" of the Conqueror's City wall. The block of stone is 2ft. 6in. in 1ft. 5in. and is "ashlar". The device is very rude - and I think it may be Saxon, tho' it is the fashion to say "Roman". It is a semicircular arch on pilasters 1/8 of an inch raised from from a surface on which appear a quantity of similarly raised Cornucopia or some similar ornament which surrounds the arches. I send you a pen and ink sketch of the front and principal figure which appears to me to be that of a naked Briton or some such savage - short curly hair on his head is very visible - he has a club resembling that of Hercules, in his left hand standing over his left shoulder - the figures on the other side compartment appear to be females that on the left - the most discernible - is clothed in wavy garments from the waist downwards - the upper part in a state of nudity. This is a far as my information extends, and it gives me much gratification to subscribe myself Your devoted humble servant George Betham Lincoln 12th July 1845 Sir E ff Bromhead Bt Thurlby Hall. Attached to the letter is a crude sketch beneath which is written: FRONT ELEVATION OF A ROMAN ALTAR Found in Besom Park, Lincoln in 1813 by workmen digging foundations on the site of the old city wall of William the Conqueror. While the terms of the letter are somewhat ambiguous, it seems clear from this postscript that the sculpture came from the length of the city wall in the area latterly known as 'The Park' and it is very probable that it represents a further item re-used in the strengthening of the late Roman walls or more particularly the gates, in this case the Lower West Gate.

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Last updated: 19-January-2016 14:09:56

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