We are delighted to have acquired a set of ten prints of Roman frescoes from the Villa Negroni, thanks to the generous support of Art Fund. The prints depict ancient Roman frescoes that were excavated in July 1777 – which impressed John Soane during his visit to Rome on his Grand Tour the following year.
The sensational discovery of the Villa Negroni, dating from the 2nd Century CE, is thought to have had a dramatic influence on Soane’s architectural style which can be seen at Pitzhanger, from the arches and domed ceilings to iconography and colour palettes. Soane subsequently acquired and displayed a set of engravings of the frescoes from the Villa Negroni in his own home.
The prints are thought to be 19th-century chromolithographs based on the series of engravings by Angelo Campanella. The original drawings of the frescoes were carried out by Anton Raphael Mengs and Anton von Maron.
Two of these prints, a depiction of the myth of Bacchus and Ariadne and the wounded Adonis seated with Venus, are now on public display in the Breakfast Room.
The acquisition was made possible thanks to the generous support of Art Fund.