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The Insula of the Menander at PompeiiVolume II: The Decorations$
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Roger Ling and Lesley Ling

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199266951

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199266951.001.0001

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(p.132) I. 10. 7: CASA DEL FABBRO
The Insula of the Menander at Pompeii

Roger Ling

Lesley Ling

Oxford University Press

The Surviving Decorations in the Casa Del Fabbro belong to two main phases: the late Third Style and a crude and simple form of the Fourth Style. Late Third Style paintings occur in the two rooms (8 and 9) that open southwards to the portico (10) and garden at the rear of the house, one on either side of the tablinum. They are accompanied in one case (room 9) by a decorated pavement assignable to the same phase. The only other space which may have had Third Style paintings at the time of the eruption was the tablinum itself (room 7). Here Elia records a wall-decoration that was ‘molto rovinata’, a description often applicable to paintings which had been on the walls for some decades before 79; remnants on the east wall consisted of ‘specchi rossi e gialli, divisi da sottili fasce verdi e zoccolo a fondo nero ornato di sagome verdi e gialle’. This description could fit a Third Style scheme, though it does not exclude the Fourth Style. Unfortunately nothing legible now survives, but the plaster of the pilasters at the entrance predates the final coat of plaster in the atrium. Simple Fourth Style paintings occur in the cubicula to the west of the fauces and atrium (rooms 2, 4, and 5). Further fragments in the rooms above these cubicula are too incomplete for detailed analysis but are likely to belong to the same period. The atrium itself (room 3) is plastered plain white, and the fauces has only coarse plaster: one wonders whether these were provisional arrangements pending full redecoration or a sign of the house’s conversion to commercial or manufacturing activities (see below, pp. 144–5). The only decorated pavement which can be dated, with some confidence, to the Third Style is that of the black room (9), a cocciopesto containing patterns of inset white tesserae which delineate the position of triclinium couches (pp. 262–3; Fig. 111). The area covered by the couches is marked by a semis of five-tessera crosslets, the central area by a mat of swastika meander, and the area at the front and sides by mats containing lozenge grids.

Keywords:   Boscotrecase, villa of Agrippa Postumus, London, British Museum, Tusculum

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