Ancient Roman Oil Lamp with Winged Victory


A decorated Ancient Roman oil lamp, featuring a volute angular-tipped nozzle. The shoulders, smooth and undecorated, slightly raise up to form a circular ridge which slopes into a sunken discus depicting a winged Victory. The deity is depicted elegantly draped in a long robe, facing right and holding a wreath in her right hand. The lamp features a large ring handle with two grooves and there is one hole, left of the figure, which would have been used to fill the lamp with oil. The base ring is marked with two circular grooves and the lamp maker’s signature: GABINIA.

This oil lamp falls under the Loeschcke V category, formed of examples with simpler volutes. The decoration becomes more simplified, with a single groove for the volutes.

Date: AD 80-140
Provenance: From a specialist collection of Roman oil lamps formed by Robertson Brockie (deceased), all acquired before 2008 from a central London ADA gallery; Southport Lancashire.
Condition: Very fine condition


Oil lamps were originally called ‘lychnus’, from the Greek ‘λυχνος’, with the oldest Roman lamps dating back to the 3rd century BC. Over time, the manufacture of lamps increased, and so did the variation in decoration, which depended mainly on the shape and size of the lamp. During the fourth and fifth century AD, North Africa started to produce oil lamps from red slip, much like this fine example, with large discus areas which allowed for numerous designs.

The makers mark on the reverse of this lamp refers to a workshop with a prolific Italic distribution, with branches in North Africa. From similar examples found elsewhere, we can date this example quite specifically, to the Late Flavian to Early Antonine period, AD 80-140.

To discover more about oil lamps in Antiquity, please visit our relevant blog post: Lighting The Way.

Weight 76.2 g
Dimensions L 12.2 x W 8.7 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


Roman Mythology

Reference: For similar discus iconography and signed reverse: The J. Paul Getty Museum, item 83.AQ.377.111

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