Object Details








Athens, Greece (Place found)


4th century B.C.




81.5 × 70 × 66 cm (32 1/16 × 27 9/16 × 26 in.)

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A rare surviving example of Greek marble furniture, the Elgin Throneoriginally was placed in a public space in Athens, perhaps in the Theater of Dionysos, where it would have been a seat of honor. The decoration on the sides of the chair appears connected with this official function.

The two complementary figural scenes depict tales of Athens' liberation, one historical and one mythological. In 514 B.C., Harmodios and Aristogeiton, during a failed attempt to assassinate the tyrant Hippias, killed Hippias' brother Hipparchos, thus initiating the development of democracy in Athens. The image of the tyrannicides or tyrant slayers on the throne reproduces a famous statue of the pair that once stood in the Athenian Agora and is now known from Roman copies. The other scene on the throne most likely depicts the Athenian hero Theseus battling an Amazon during a legendary invasion of the city. Amazons were often shown in Greek art, as on the Parthenon, to represent barbarian invasions of civilized Greek territories.

A partial inscription running along the upper edge of the back of the throne names Boethos, perhaps the dedicator of the throne. The throne was once in the collection of Lord Elgin, a noted collector of antiquities.


Found: Athens, Greece

by 1805 - 1841

Thomas Bruce, seventh earl of Elgin, 1766 - 1841 (Broomhall, Scotland), by inheritance to his son, James Bruce, 1841.


James Bruce, eighth earl of Elgin, 1811 - 1863 (Broomhall, Scotland), by inheritance to his son, Victor Bruce, 1863.


Victor Bruce, ninth earl of Elgin, 1849 - 1917 (Broomhall, Scotland), by inheritance to his son, Edward Bruce, 1917.


Edward Bruce, tenth earl of Elgin, 1881 - 1968 (Broomhall, Scotland), by inheritance to his son, Andrew Bruce, 1968.


Andrew Bruce, eleventh earl of Elgin, born 1924 (Broomhall, Scotland)

- 1974

Robin Symes, Limited (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1974.

Exhibition of Greek Art 3000 B.C. - A.D.1938 (January 1 to December 31, 1943)
  • National Gallery of Scotland (Edinburgh), 1943
  • Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (Glasgow), October 5 to October 31, 1943
Beyond Beauty: Antiquities as Evidence (December 16, 1997 to January 17, 1999)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 16, 1997 to January 17, 1999

Hamilton, W. R. Memorandum on the Subject of the Earl of Elgin's Pursuits in Greece. London: 1811, p. 32.

von Stackelberg, Otto Magnus. Die Graeber der Hellenen (Berlin: 1837), p. 33 ff.

Benndorf, O. Archaeologische Zeitung, 1869, p. 106, n. 2.

Michaelis, Adolf. "Ancient Marbles in Great Britain. Supplement I." Journal of Hellenic Studies 5 (1884), pp. 143-161, pp. 146-48, no. 5; pl. 48.

Gardner, E. A. Handbook of Greek Sculpture. (London: 1897), p. 182, fig. 3.

Smith, A. H. "Lord Elgin and his Collection." Journal of Hellenic Studies 36 (1916), pp. 163-372, pp. 286, 294.

Gardner, E. A. Handbook of Greek Sculpture, 2nd ed. (London, 1929), p. 207, fig. 44.

Seltman, Charles. Exhibition of Greek Art, 3000 B.C.- A.D. 1938, exh. cat. (Edinburgh: National Gallery of Scotland, 1943), no. 296.

Seltman, Charles. Exhibition of Greek Art: 3000 B.C. - A.D. 1938 (Glasgow: Glasgow Art Gallery, 1943), p. 24, no. 194.

"An Editorial Diary: Greek Art Through the Ages." The Glasgow Herald [Glasgow] August 23, 1943, p. 2.

Seltman, Charles. "Two Athenian Marble Thrones." Journal of Hellenic Studies 67 (1947) pp. 22-30, pp. 22-27; figs. 1-2; pls. 6a, 7.

Vermeule, Cornelius C. "Notes on a New Edition of Michaelis: Ancient Marbles in Great Britain." American Journal of Archaeology 59 (1955), p. 132.

Shefton, Brian B. "Some Iconographical Remarks on the Tyrannicides." American Journal of Archaeology 64 (1960), pp. 173-179, p. 178; pl. 52, 10.

Richter, Gisela M. A. The Furniture of the Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans. London: Phaidon, 1966, p. 30, fig. 138.

Brunnsåker, S. The Tyrant-Slayers of Kitios and Nesiotes, Opuscula atheniensia, vol. 17 (1971), p. 107, pp. 115-16, ill. pp. 10, 24; 19.

Frel, Jiří. Recent Acquisitions. Ancient Art: The J. Paul Getty Museum (Pullman, Washington: 1974), no. 6.

Frel, Jirí. "Some Notes on the Elgin Throne." Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archaeologischen Instituts, Athenische Abteilung, vol. 91 (1976). pp. 185-186, pls. 65-67, ill.

Beschi, Luigi. "L. S. Fauvel et il c. d. Trono Elgin." The J Paul Getty Museum Journal vol. 5 (1977), pp. 33-40, figs. 1, 5-7.

Fredericksen, Burton B., Jiří Frel, and Gillian Wilson. Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum. 4th ed. Sandra Morgan, ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978), p. 33.

Stewart, Andrew. Attika: Studies in Athenian Sculpture of the Hellenistic Age (London: The Society for the Promotion of Hellenistic Studies, 1979), pp. 159, 171 no. 26.

Frel, Jiří. Antiquities in the J. Paul Getty Museum: A Checklist; Sculpture I: Greek Originals (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1979), pp. 12-13, no. 52.

Frel, Jiří. Antiquities in the J. Paul Getty Museum: A Checklist; Sculpture II: Greek Portraits and Varia (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, November 1979), addendum, p. 43, no. 52.

Frel, Jiří. Greek Portraits in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1981), p. 10, fig. 26.

Frischer, Bernard. The Sculpted Word: Epicureanism and Philosophical Recruitment in Ancient Greece (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982), pp. 250-60, figs 32 and 34.

Frel, Jiří. "Caesar." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal, 5 (1977). pp. 55-62, p. 83, no. 25; fig. 16.

Ridgway, Brunilde S. Hellenistic Sculpture I: The Style of Circa 331-200 B.C. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990), p. 307, no. 10, ill.

Morris, Sarah P., Daidalos and the Origins of Greek Art, 1992, pl. 44 a, b, ill.

Vallera-Rickerson, I., and M. Korma. "Merika ellenika ekthemata tou Mouseiou Getty." Archaiologia 43 (1992), p. 85, fig. 3.

Frel, Jiří. "The Portraits of Demetrios Polioketes by Lysippos and Teisikrates." In Studia Varia (Rome: Bretschneider, 1994), "Nugae Panathenaicae," p. 29, g.

Bodel, John, and Stephen Tracy. Greek and Latin Inscriptions in the USA: A Checklist (New York: American Academy in Rome, 1997), p. 6.

Susan Nagel. Mistress of the Elgin Marbles. A Biography of Mary Nisbet, Countess of Elgin (New York: Harper Collins, 2004), p. 273.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 22.

Blamberger, Gunter and Boschung, Dietrich. Morphomata Kulturelle Figurationen: Genese, Dynamik und Medialitat (Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 2011), p. 59, 208-209, 211, 216, figs. 5-7,9,12, p. 59. The image is a close up of the relief.

Azoulay, Vincent. Les Tyrannicides d'Athenes. (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 2014), pp. 137-138, 366, figs. 13a-b.

Mattusch, Carol C. Enduring Bronze: Ancient Art, Modern Views (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2014), pp. 116-117, 144, fig. 80.

Waite, Sally. "An Attic Red-Figure Kalathos in the Shefton Collection." In On the Fascination of Objects. Greek and Etruscan Art in the Shefton Collection. J. Boardman, A. Parkin, S. Waite, eds. (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2016), 56, footnote 97.

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