Description of the House (Reg IX, Ins 9, c)
House of Sulpicius Rufus lies on an unnamed street that leads off the
south side of the Via di Nola. The house was first excavated in 1880 and
again in 1887. The house is named after a seal found in the house
bearing the name C. Sulpicius Rufus. The house is also sometimes
referred to as the House of the Piglet (Porcellino) after the painting
of a pig's head found on the north wall of the kitchen.
The scene in the centre of the east wall (pictured above) depicts Nike
beside a victory monument. On the west wall the scene shows a youth with
a pack of hunting dogs (pictured right). The side panels contain fan shaped insets featuring animals on a black ground.
the centre of the west side of the peristyle
is the triclinium
(f) (pictured right and below). The triclinium, which is open to the peristyle over most of its width, is decorated in the third style
in the form of a loggia with a surrounding low ballustrade. Above the
ballustrade in the centre of each wall are large architectural scenes
set against a plain red ground.
to the lararium, above the end of the hearth, is an unusual
representation of food ready to be cooked including hanging sausages, a
pig's head, an eel and portions of meat on a spit (pictured opposite).
The kitchen is additionally lit by a small square window high up on its
The fauces (a) opens off the east side of the unnamed street (pictured left). The fauces (pictured below) has lost most of its original plasterwork and what remains is too faded to allow a realistic description.
A small latrine (b) and two cubicula (c and d) open off the north side of the fauces
(access to cubiculum (c) is currently blocked). These rooms have
remnants of original plasterwork, but again it is not possible to
provide a description of the decoration.
The fauces opens directly onto a small peristyle
with a central garden surrounded by a low wall (pictured left). The
columns and supports of the colonnade are of stuccoed brickwork.
Cubiculum (e) opens off the north west corner of the peristyle. The cubiculum is decorated in the fourth style
with red panels above a lower black frieze. The plasterwork has been
lost from the north wall, but the central panels on the east and west
walls each contain a large mythological scene.
upper zone consists of stylised plants set amongst fantastic
architecture on a white ground (pictured opposite). In the centre of the
south wall is a rectangular window which overlooks the peristyle and garden.
reconstruction of the fresco on the south wall is pictured opposite
while the existing north wall is shown lower left. The decorative theme
of the room is continued into the upper zone where further architectural
views are displayed together with stylised plants and decorative
plaques (a reproduction of one of the scenes is pictured below).
Opening off the south side of the peristyle
are two rooms
(g and h). Room (g), a cubiculum, is decorated with alternating
red and white panels above a lower black frieze. The upper zone consists
of geometric shapes and blocks of colour (pictured left).
The adjoining exedra (h) has lost most of its plasterwork, the
remaining fragments having blocks of red and white decoration, but too
little to allow proper description.
In the centre of the east side of the peristyle is the kitchen (i) (pictured left and below). Against the back wall of the kitchen is a masonry hearth.
most of the north wall is a painted lararium (pictured above and
opposite). The picture shows two lares on either side of an altar which
has a serpent wound round it.
* 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)