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House of the Carbonised Furniture

Description of the House (Ins V, 5)

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The House of the Carbonised Furniture (pictured right) is, like the neighbouring Samnite House, one of the oldest buildings in Herculaneum. Renovated in the Claudian era, the house is decorated in a mixture of the third and fourth style.

The fauces (a) opens off the east side of Cardo IV, leading directly to the atrium (b) which is without an impluvium. The atrium, which has rooms off all but its southern side, was decorated in the third style, but little remains of this decoration save a few plaster remnants. The atrium was styled in much the same manner as the Samnite House, with an upper gallery of columns
(visible in the picture opposite) providing a light and airy feel to the room.
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An oecus (f) immediately to the south of the fauces is decorated with fourth style frescoes depicting architectural themes framing pictures of a rooster and a still life (pictured opposite and below).
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The courtyard at the rear of the tablinum also acts as a light source for the oecus (h) (pictured right). The room, which is lit by three windows is decorated in the fourth style with red panels containing medallions and small mythological scenes above a lower black frieze. In this room is displayed the carbonised remains of a dining couch (pictured right).
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Two flights of stairs lead to the upper floor - one next to the entrance and one in the kitchen area (g) on the north side of the atrium.
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The tablinum (c), in the centre of the photograph above is decorated in the third style with red and yellow panels incorporating floating figures above a lower red frieze (pictured left). The tablinum has a fine white mosaic floor with a thin black border. In the centre of the floor is a polychrome square in opus sectile (pictured lower left).
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The tablinum overlooks a small rectangular garden court (d) to the east.
The courtyard itself contains an impluvium for collecting rainwater and a temple style lararium (e) adorned with stucco reliefs and paintings with a tympanum supported on two side columns (pictured left).

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