This article appeared in the Spring 1977 (Issue #47) edition of the Kent Archaeological Review.
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Pompeii AD 79.
On the morning of August 24th, AD 79 the volcano Vesuvius erupted and buried the flourishing provincial towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. For nearly 1700 years they lay entombed beneath many feet of volcanic ash and lava until even their very locations were lost. In 1709 some well diggers, quite by chance, re-discovered the theatre at Herculaneum and then, forty years later, Pompeii was found.
Now, nearly 2000 years after the volcanic holocaust had stopped time in the bustling Roman town, Pompeii comes to London for the first time in an exhibition sponsored by Imperial Tobacco Ltd., in association with the Daily Telegraph.
Pompeii AD 79 is the main Winter Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly and is open from Saturday 20th November, until Sunday 27th February 1977. It is the most comprehensive display of the relics of Pompeii ever seen outside Italy and the first time they have been seen in this country.
The treasures have been drawn from the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples, from the Louvre and the British Museum and from other sources throughout Europe.
The exhibition is in six separate sections, designed to place the exhibits in the context of daily life in Pompeii.
- The history of Pompeii and that of the volcano that ended its life.
- The people of Pompeii, highlighting the extraordinary portrait bronzes, so prominent throughout the town.
- The house and garden with the wonderful wall-paintings, mosaics and decorative garden sculpture.
- The cults and religions prevalent at the time.
- The trades and occupations of the Pompeians.
- The leisure activities of the inhabitants.
The exhibits, many of which have never been loaned before, consist of original wall paintings (nearly 70 of these are from Naples); mosaics; marble and bronze sculpture; gladiatorial equipment, gold and silver; furniture and household utensils; pottery and glass.
In order to help set the scene, there are, in addition to the 330 exhibits, models of Pompeii and one of its principal houses; a re-creation of the famous room at the Villa of the Mysteries, depicting the initiation rite of one of the mystery cults; and of one of the quite beautiful trompe l'oeil walls in the recently excavated villa at Oplontis, said to have belonged to Poppaea, the sinister wife of Nero — and two of the casts of the petrified figures.
OPENING HOURS:Mondays to 21st Feb. 3 pm to 9pm.
Tuesdays to 22nd Feb. 10am to 7.30pm.
Wed., Thurs. and Friday 10am to 9pm.
Sat. and Sun. 10am to 6pm.
(Last admission on all days one hour before closing.)
ADMISSION CHARGES:Adults £1.00, Children and O.A.P's 60p, Students 60p.
(Sunday mornings between 10am — 2pm there is a reduced admission charge of 75p for adults, 40p for children, students and OAPs.)