A Greek Double Urn

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A Greek Double Urn about 1804
This exceptional picture is one of only three fully finished watercolours to have survived from Lusieri’s twenty years’ activity in Greece. Lusieri discovered the double-urn in 1804 during the excavation of a burial mound outside Athens. The outer vase was made of white marble and had been damaged by the weight of the tomb. The bronze inner vase contained some burnt bones and a sprig of myrtle made of gold. These two urns were part of the original group of ‘Elgin Marbles’ purchased in 1816 for the British Museum, and remain there today. Lusieri’s highly accurate watercolour was bequeathed to the Scottish National Gallery by Lady Ruthven. She met Lusieri in Athens in 1819 while travelling through Greece with her husband, and is assumed to have acquired this picture then.

Glossary Open


A paint with colouring and binding agents diluted with water. It has a transparent quality and is usually applied to paper.



  • Acc. No. D NG 711
  • Medium Watercolour over pencil on paper
  • Size 26.10 x 30.20 cm
  • Credit Mary Hamilton Campbell, Lady Ruthven Bequest 1885