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The Column of Phocas and the Campo Vaccino
Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
The Column of Phocas and the Campo Vaccino
c.1752-54 (undated)
Black and white chalk on grey paper
259 x 404 mm
10 3/16 x 15 7/8 in.
Chambers Hall Gift, 1855
Unsigned; Inscribed in black ink, upper right corner: No 10
[1] Lower left corner: Chambers Hall (Lugt 551)
[2] Lower left corner: Oxford University Galleries (Lugt 2003)
The Column of Phocas is a Roman monumental column in the Roman Forum, the area commonly known in the 18th century as Campo Vaccino, or field of cows. Dedicated or rededicated in honour of the Eastern Roman Emperor Phocas in AD 608, the column was the last addition made to the Forum and currently stands 13.6 m (44 ft) tall on a cubical white marble socle and brick foundation. On stylistic grounds, it seems to have been made in the 2nd century AD for an unknown structure, and later recycled for the present monument. The socle was not uncovered until 1813, hence its absence from Wilson's drawing. The square foundation of brick was also concealed since the present level of the Forum was not excavated down to its Augustan paving until the 19th century. The column's free-standing position among the ruins has always made it a landmark in the Forum, much favoured by artists.
WGC, p. 160; Brown 1982, p. 661, no. 1890