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Banquet Couch
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Banquet Couch

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description The dining room, or "triclinium," of a Roman house derived its name from the three couches that were grouped at right angles to one another in a U-shape. Wealthy citizens ate while reclining on these couches. On this example, bronze fittings decorate a wood frame (restored). Straps originally would have supported a mattress covered with luxurious textiles. The ends of the couch are decorated with bronze fulcra, the curving ends of the armrests, which terminate in lion heads in the front and duck heads in the back. Couches were highly valued pieces of furniture that were often buried with honored family members.

The bronze elements are ancient. The wood framework and textile upholstery are restorations. Small sheets of old plastic were present to protect the ancient metal from the cushion supports. The plastic, polyvinyl acetate, from the 1950s had deteriorated. It was removed and replaced with Mylar.

Textile elements were removed for cleaning and the wood and metal elements of the couch were dusted. Possible areas of copper chloride corrosion (bronze disease) were noted.

Date Description Narrative
10/03/1949Treatmentstabilized; coated; cleaned; other
9/24/1953Technical Reportother
1/23/1978Treatmentcleaned; coated; other
6/16/2014TreatmentExamined for exhibition; minor treatment for exhibition
11/04/2019Treatmentcleaned; examined for condition
  • In Search of Ancient Treasure: 40 Years of Collecting. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1978.
  • From Alexander to Cleopatra: Greek Art of the Hellenistic Age. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1988-1989.
Provenance [Found in a Chamber tomb near Canossa (?)]; Arnold Ruesch, Zurich; Ruesch Collection Sale, Lucerne, 1936; William Randolph Hearst, San Simeon, 1936, by purchase; Joseph Brummer, New York, by purchase [Brummer inv. no. N4718; assembled as "Honor chair"]; Brummer Collection Sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, June 8, 1949, p. 8, no. 38; Walters Art Museum, 1949, by purchase.
Credit Museum purchase, 1949

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1st century BC (Late Hellenistic-early Imperial)
bronze, wood frame, bedding
Accession Number
H: 31 15/16 x W: 76 3/4 x D: 28 1/4 in. (81.2 x 194.9 x 71.7 cm)
  • Italy, Canosa di Puglia (Place of Discovery)

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