Description of the House (Reg I, Ins 9, 1, 13, 14)
house (pictured lelow), also referred to as the House of Cerere, lies on
the Via di Castricio in the south west corner of Reg I, Ins 9. It was first excavated in 1951. Water infiltration in combination with capillary action,
the result of the poor state of protective
shelters and the absence of effective drainage, has over time led to the
deteriorated state of the house causing the detachment of plasterwork from the walls and
tesserae from floor mosaics. The greatest damage to the house since its excavation can be attributed to
the corrosion of reinforced concrete structures introduced during the
is decorated in the second style
with plain white panels bordered with simple frames below a broad
multi-coloured dado. The fauces
opens directly onto a fairly square atrium
(b) (pictured below).
At the centre of the atrium is an
impluvium framed by a broad mosaic pattern composed of a geometric design in black and white tesserae. On the north side of the impluvium is a fluted marble puteal. The walls of the atrium retain a few areas of plasterwork
bearing fragments of early second style
Rooms are arranged around three sides of the atrium. Off the south west corner is a small cubiculum (c) (pictured opposite). The walls retain large areas of second style decoration with architectural views intermingled with solid rectangular blocks of colour. The room is lit by a small square window high on its west wall.
Room (f) on the east side of the atrium is decorated in the early second
style with white panels on a red ground above a lower red frieze
(pictured opposite). The upper zone consists of a geometric pattern of
coloured blocks, predominantly yellow, but with insets of green and bands of dark red.
Cubiculum (h) immediately east of the fauces is decorated in the early
second style with the area around the bed recess (shown below)
contrasting with the rest of the room (pictured opposite). The
predominant colours of the rather geometric decoration are dark red,
yellow and green.
The room, which is lit by two narrow slits high on the south wall, has a
white mosaic floor incorporating black marble chips framed by a single
A doorway on the west side of the tablinum (pictured opposite) opens
onto a small room (l). The room is richly decorated in the second style
with flutted columns fronting architectural motifs on a white ground.
The columns continue into the upper zone (pictured below) which contains
painted windows set between multi-coloured brickwork.
Room (n) is in much better
The room is decorated in the third style with black panels framed in
white above a lower black frieze (pictured right). In addition to the
two windows in the wall dividing it from room (m) there is a further
small window in
its east wall.
A low wall divides the lower (j) and upper (o) gardens.
The wall is decorated with a floral motif set between solid blocks of
colour. A colonnade runs down the western side of the garden terminating
at a posticum which opens onto the unnamed lane to the west at door
No.14. Immediately to the north of the posticum is a small undecorated room.
(a), which opens off the north side of the Via di Castricio, is
currently blocked by a concrete cast of the void left by its double
wooden doors (pictured below viewed from the atrium).
Cubiculum 'd' (on the left in the picture of the atrium
above) is decorated in a mixture of first and second styles. The
decoration (pictured left) consists
of large central panels in white and red beneath an upper first style
zone composed of rectangular blocks of colour. The room has a fine white
mosaic floor with a single black border.
The ala (e) is fully open to the atrium along is western side. The room
is decorated in the second style with yellow panels framed in red set
behind painted illusionary Corinthian columns which extend into the
upper zone with elements of fantastic architecture. Additional light to
the ala is provided by a small window set high in the east wall (pictured left).
The oecus (g) off the south east corner of the atrium is decorated in
the second style in an illusionary style incorporating painted columns
on a low wall set against a dark red ground (pictured opposite). The
floor is dark gray set with small chips of coloured marbles.
A doorway to the east of the tablinum (k) leads to the lower garden
area (j) by way of room (i) which, unfortunately, is in a rather
distressed condition, having lost most of its original plasterwork. A
doorway in the west wall of this room provides a secondary entrance to
the tablinum which has its main entrance opening off the lower garden.
The tablinum (pictured left) is decorated in a second style
that appears later than much of the rest of the house. The decoration consists of red and
white panels framed by simple borders. The upper zone is white
above a painted cornice. The tablinum has a large window
overlooking the atrium to the south. The room has a fine white mosaic
floor edged by a double black border with a central black and white
decorative panel. The threshold to the tablinum is decorated with a
geometric pattern composed of multi-coloured tesserae.
On the south wall of the room, where the plaster has spalled from the wall, there is
evidence of some earlier sketchwork. The room, which is lit by a large
window on the north wall, has a white mosaic floor with a central
geometric panel in coloured marbles.
Two further rooms (m and n) open off the lower garden (pictured
opposite). Room (m) is in a semi-ruinous condition with little in the
way of remaining plasterwork. In the middle of its bare north wall is a
small arch topped niche beneath two high set windows.
* Images ©Jackie and Bob Dunn are
reproduced by permission from their website at
(Su concessione del Ministero per
i Beni e le Attività Culturali:
Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di
Napoli e Pompei)