Last Supper in Pompeii at the Ashmolean Museum

25 July 2019
12 January 2020
Ashmolean Museum
35 Beaumont Street

Last Supper in Pompeii Exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum

About the Last Supper in Pompeii exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum

Last Supper in Pompeii is a major exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum that tells the story of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii’s love affair with food and wine.

Located in the sunny paradise of southern Italy, Pompeii was sandwiched between lush vineyards and fertile plains to one side, and the bountiful waters of the Bay of Naples to the other. When the ash from Mount Vesuvius began raining down on Pompeii in AD 79, people were engaged in typical day to day activities: producing, buying and selling food and, most importantly, eating and drinking.

See over 400 rare objects, including fine masterpieces of Roman art which range from the luxury furnishings of Roman dining rooms to the carbonised food that was on the table when the volcano erupted. Everything from the exquisite mosaics and frescoes in the villas of the wealthy to the remains found in kitchen drains, show what the Pompeians loved to eat and drink. This remarkable exhibition provides an extraordinary insight into their everyday lives.

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The Financial Times

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Brilliant – a feast of a show”

The Telegraph

“A marvellously engrossing exhibition”

The Sunday Times

Last Supper in Pompeii – The catalogue

Published to accompany the exhibition, Last Supper in Pompeii looks at the traditions of Roman dining – including its political and religious role, and the ever-present link between feasting and death. Pompeii has always been one of our most valuable sources of information because of the sudden preservation in the midst of life.

Last Supper in Pompeii Catalogue to accompany the exhibition at Ashmolean Museum
Last Supper in Pompeii Catalogue to accompany the exhibition at Ashmolean Museum

The catalogue covers where the Romans got their ideas from; the influence of Etruscans and Italics (who had themselves been influenced by the Greeks); the production and distribution of food around Pompeii; a look at the role of food and feasting in the Roman house; the arrival of the Romans in Britain, and the impact on dining there.

  • Brand new research based on the excavation of drains and rubbish pits
  • Newly commissioned photography from both Pompeii and Naples
  • Further new research on the first ever excavation of a Roman vineyard – one near Oplontis – which is at the foot of Vesuvius, between the volcano and Pompeii

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