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House of the Beautiful Impluvium

Description of the House (Reg I, Ins 9, 1, 15)

This house faces onto the Via dell' Abbondanza. It was first excavated in 1912 and again in 1952. The entrance (a) is currently blocked by a concrete cast of the void left by its double wooden doors. The large atrium (b) originally had four columns supporting the roof, but these appear to have been removed, perhaps after the quake of AD62, leaving the atrium roofless. At the centre of the atrium is a richly decorated impluvium, lined with coloured marbles from Africa, Greece and Turkey.
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On the south side of the atrium, facing the entrance, a large tablinum opens onto the peristyle at the rear. The photograph above shows the view from the atrium, through the tablinum to the garden beyond. The tablinum (d) was decorated in blues and reds; a fragment of this decoration is shown opposite.
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Opening off the left side of the tablinum is the triclinium (e) which also opens onto the garden at the rear. The decoration, of which only fragments remain, was of architectural scenes and wildlife on a black ground (pictured right).

The garden (f) had a peristyle on three sides (pictured below). There was a flight of stairs off the north west corner leading down to a cellar. Arranged along the south side of the garden, several rooms opened directly onto the peristyle.
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Rooms are arranged around three sides of the atrium. Along the fourth (west) side, a wooden chest and cupboard were discovered which contained between them a wide range of artifacts including jewellery and silverware and a hoard of silver and gold coins.

Much of the wall decoration in the house has been lost, although three rooms, a cubiculum, the tablinum and the triclinium, do retain some of their original third style frescoes.

The first of these rooms, cubiculum (c) on the east side of the atrium was decorated with red panels framed by columns above a border of coloured squares (pictured lower left).
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These rooms are no longer present, but supporting columns for the flooring can be seen in the lower area at the rear of the garden (g). This lower area appears to have been used as workshops and had a separate access to the street (h).
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Note: The two photographs on the right above showing the fresco plasterwork in the tablinum and triclinium are reproduced from a paper on Pompeian Plaster by the Swedish Institute in Rome (the paper is included here in the Bibliography as Appendix N).


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Images ©Jackie and Bob Dunn are reproduced by permission from their website at www.pompeiiinpictures.com
(Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali: Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei)





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