Grave Naiskos of an Enthroned Woman with an Attendant

Object Details


Grave Naiskos of an Enthroned Woman with an Attendant




East Greek


about 100 B.C.




94.6 x 120.7 x 21.6 cm (37 1/4 x 47 1/2 x 8 1/2 in.)

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Lounging in a cushioned armchair, a woman reaches out to touch the lid of a shallow chest held by a servant girl on this funerary relief. The depiction of the deceased reaching out for an item held by a servant has a long history in Greek funerary art and probably alludes to the hope of continuing earthly pleasures in the afterlife. The dead woman must have come from a prominent and wealthy family. Numerous elements on the relief signal her high status, as do the scale and overall quality of the work. She wears snake-bracelets, presumably gold, on her upper and lower arms. Her elaborate chair has a turned leg decorated with lions' paws and an eagle arm-support. Also the clothes and hairstyle of the attendant characterize the young girl as a slave.

This relief has been substantially altered over the years. Originally, it took the form of a shallow naiskos, or three-sided grave monument, but three elements have been cut away: an architectural top portion, probably in the form of a pediment; the left side wall; and a lower portion that probably had an inscription. These alterations may have occurred in 1770 when the relief became part of the collection of Lord Lansdowne and was hung over a door in his London house.

- 1805

William Petty-Fitzmaurice, second earl of Shelburne, first marquess of Lansdowne, 1737 - 1805 (Lansdowne House, London, England), acquired from his estate by his son, John Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 1805.

1805 - 1809

John Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, second marquess of Lansdowne, 1765 - 1809 (Lansdowne House, London, England), by inheritance to his wife, Mary Arabella Petty, 1809.

1809 - 1810

Mary Arabella Petty, marchioness of Lansdowne, d. 1833 (Lansdowne House, London, England), sold to her brother-in-law, Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 1810.

1810 -

Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, third marquess of Lansdowne, 1780 - 1863 (Lansdowne House, London, England)

by 1930

Henry William Edmund Petty-Fitzmaurice, sixth marquess of Lansdowne, British, 1872 - 1936 (Bowood House, Wiltshire, England) [offered for sale, The celebrated collection of ancient marbles: property of the most honourable the Marquess of Lansdowne, Christie's, March 5, 1930, lot 100, bought back into the Lansdowne Collection and transferred to Bowood House, Wiltshire, England.]

- 1972

George John Charles Mercer Nairne Petty-Fitzmaurice, eighth marquess of Lansdowne, 1912-1999 (Bowood House, Wiltshire, England) [sold, Egyptian, Western Asiatic, Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities, ancient jewellery, Isnik and Islamic pottery, Sotheby's, London, December 4, 1972, lot 128, to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]

Coming of Age in Ancient Greece: Images of Childhood from the Classical Past (August 23, 2003 to December 5, 2004) (Woman with Attendant)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), September 14 to December 5, 2004

Michaelis, Adolf. "Die Privatsammlungen antiker Bildwerke in England," Archaeologische Zeitung 32 (1875), pp. 1-70. 36, no. 22.

Michaelis, Adolf Theodor Friedrich. Ancient Marbles in Great Britain. 1882. p. 443, no. 26.

Arndt, Paul, and Walter Amelung. Photographische Einzelaufnahmen antiker Skulpturen. Munich: 1893-1940. XI, p. 12.

Christie's, London. Sale cat., March 5, 1930. lot 100.

Vermeule, Cornelius C. "Notes on a New Edition of Michaelis: Ancient Marbles in Great Britain," American Journal of Archaeology 59 (1955), pp. 129-150. p. 131, under Bowood, no. 26.

Sotheby's, London. Sale cat., December 4, 1972. lot no. 128, pl. 26.

Frel, Jirí. Recent Acquisitions. Ancient Art: The J. Paul Getty Museum. (Pullman, Washington: 1974). no. 10.

Frel, Jirí. Antiquities in the J. Paul Getty Museum. A Checklist. Sculpture II. Greek Portraits and Varia. Malibu: November 1979. addendum, p. 44, no. 87bis and p. 46, Concordance: wrongly cited in both as 73.AA.159.

Grossman, Janet Burnett. Greek Funerary Sculpture. Catalogue of the Collections at the Getty Villa (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001) pp. 125-29, cat. no. 46.

Nagle, D. Brendan and Stanley M. Burstein. Readings in Greek History: Sources and Interpretations (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007) p. 298, fig. 8.5.