of the Painters at Work is currently being excavated along with the
adjoining House of the Chaste Lovers as part of the on-going excavation
which encompasses much of the southern end of Reg IX, Insula 12.
The property derives
its name from the unfinished state of the decoration in the large oecus
(k) in the south east corner of the building. Painters pots and brushes
were found in the room and several of the central panels bear only the
sketched outlines of the proposed decorative scene to be painted there.
The building has an irregular layout and may have been of mixed commercial and domestic use at the time of the eruption.
house spans the width of the insula with an entrance on each of the
bordering side streets. The doorway (a) on the west side (yet to be
assigned an official door number) is presumably the main entrance as the
eastern doorway (j) leads directly to the kitchen area and household
rooms on the west side of the property have only been partially
excavated and the exact interaction between some of the rooms has yet to
be determined. Two rooms that have been cleared are cubicula
(c) (pictured opposite with an intervening passageway). Cubiculum
(b) (pictured below) is decorated in
the fourth style
with white panels with floating figures framing central
white panels containing a decorative scene, all above a lower red frieze. The upper zone consists of geometric themes on a
area of the house that has been extensively excavated is the viridarium
(d) (pictured upper right) and its surrounding rooms. The peristyle
colonnaded on three sides, is decorated with a frieze of red panels
framed in yellow below a plain white upper zone (the view opposite is of
the north side of the colonnade looking east).
(e) off the north west corner of the peristyle
appears to have been
left undecorated and used as a storeroom, as witnessed by the discovery
of a number of amphorae found stacked against the north wall.
(f) is decorated in the fourth style
and lower right) with white framed panels containing central scenes
above a lower decorated red frieze. The upper zone is similarly
decorated with smaller framed panels containing floating figures
separated by garlands.
can be seen in the photographs of the oecus
several of the central
scenes are missing, having been removed some time in the past. A more
recent 'removal' happened in April 2003 when thieves chiselled two such
frescoes from the walls and in the process not only badly damaged the
frescoes but also the walls of the room. The frescoes were quickly
recovered and have now been fully restored. One of the frescoes is of a
cock pecking a pomegranate (pictured opposite).