of Small Collectors
Members' Window # 30
by Jayne Dye
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A reproduction of a Roman Trulla (first century B.C.)

Gorham silver plate trulla Forty years ago I bought a silver plate reproduction of a "TRULLA" made in the Ancient Rome in the first century B.C.
The trulla has a style surprisingly "modern" for an object made about 2000 years ago, having a look that may be confused with a contemporary Danish or 'Art Deco' period design.
It is the practical confirmation of the maxim "nothing new under the sun".
I believe that it may be interesting to know the history of this trulla through the description supplied in 1966 by Horizon Books which was the promoter of the production of this silver plate replica:

"This ‘trulla’ (ladle or pitcher) is copied from a highly unusual piece of Roman silver from the republican period. The original, now owned by the Metropolotan Museum of Art in New York, has no parallels in other Roman art objects and utensils; nor has it any known antecedents in Greek vase shapes.
It was part of a set of ancient silver - 13 vessels and 17 spoons – said to have been ‘found’ near Tivoli by persons unknown, toward the end of the 19th century. Many of the pieces were incised with tiny dots (see endnote) that spelled out the name of their owner: Sattia daughter of Lucius. Why Sattia’s silver collection was buried and abandoned remains a mystery: possibly the family was put to flight or death during the political upheavals that preceded the collapse of the Roman republic.
The trulla came to the attention of the editors of Horizon magazine in the course of their research for the Horizon book of the Ancient Rome, an illustrated history of the era.
They were impressed by the simple, graceful design , and felt that some of their readers might enjoy owning a reproduction of this one-of-a-kind object created two thousand years ago.
Accordingly, with the permission and the cooperation of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Horizon commissioned The Gorham Company of Providence to prepare a facsimile of the trulla. It is an exact duplicate of the original in size and design, made of heavy silver plate on brass. The reproduction was executed under the supervision of Mr. J. Russel Price, Gorham’s Director of Design, and is available only from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or from Horizon."

the name of this technique is PRICKLING and was used to decorate the surface of silverware by small dots for making initials, monograms or dates. The dots were made using needlepoint by persons who were unskilled in engraving.
It is interesting to notice that this technique was already in use in the Ancient Rome.
Jayne Dye
- 2006 -