Object type



Warwick Vase

Place Associated

Italy, Tivoli (place of manufacture)


2nd century




overall: 2940 mm x 1950 mm x 1950 mm


The Warwick Vase was found in fragments by Gavin Hamilton in 1769–1770 digging in the silts of Lake Pantanello in the grounds of the Villa Tiburtina, the villa of the Roman Emperor Hadrian outside Rome. It was restored in 1772–1774 by Grandjacquet to designs by Piranesi for Sir William Hamilton, who gave it to George Greville, Earl of Warwick. The Vase stood in the courtyard of Warwick Castle for almost two centuries until it was purchased for The Burrell Collection in 1979. A monumental marble sculpture in the form of a two-handled drinking cup, it is decorated with acting masks and motifs relating to the cult of the Roman god of wine, Bacchus (the Greek god Dionysos).

The Vase was one of many fine sculptures with which Hadrian (who ruled the Roman Empire from 117 to 138) adorned the gardens of his palatial villa. The Dionysian imagery of many of these sculptures evoked the pleasures of life enjoyed through good wine and feasting. Since its rediscovery the Warwick Vase has been a major source of inspiration for the Neo-Classical school in the decorative arts in Britain.

Credit Line/Donor

Purchased by the Burrell Trustees, 1979 with grant aid from the National Art Collections Fund, the Scottish Heritage Fund and 2 anonymous charities


Burrell Collection: Roman Items [various media]

ID Number



Burrell Collection Courtyard

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