Plate LXII - Atrium of the house of Ceres

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The atrium or cavaedium of the house of Ceres, discovered in the years 1825 and 1827, is shown in Plate LXII. The walls were either originally higher than those of other houses at Pompeii, or they have been better preserved ; and the apartment here repre-sented must have had the effect of a hall of two stories.

The paintings on the panels consist of a Ceres, with her ears of corn, her poppies, and her torch ; also a sedent Bacchus, crowned with ivy, with the lynx at his feet, and the cup in his hand. Here are, moreover, a genius, carrying a figure of abundance, a Jupiter on his throne, and a genius with a lyre, to decorate the walls. The abundance, and the other flying figures, with the lyre, are the subjects of the two vignettes, 11 and 12.

The fountain which is here shown in the foreground was one of the first which was discovered with its ornaments of vitreous mosaic in good preservation. Under it, is seen a marble which covered the mouth of a reservoir of water, collected from the impluvium. The slab on the top was of African marble and broken. The ornaments consist in a river-god, masks and griffins.

The walls, when first discovered, were covered with brilliant colours, and much more might have been traced, with regard to the details of the ornaments, than is here represented ; but the fact is, that, by a variety of petty intrigues, strangers are prevented from drawing these objects till they are either defaced, or irrevocably destroyed, and it is only by the despatch supplied by the camera lucida that any memorial of them can be obtained. These walls of the atrium, being higher than the rest, are already in a tottering state, and, possibly, this plate may soon become the only record of their existence.

There was in this house a painting called Zephyr and Flora, now removed to the musaeum. It has been much celebrated under many names, and is given in this work as plate LXXXIII.

The house is one of those which had been examined by its owners, or others, not long after the destruction of the city.