The severe façade of the house, featuring panels of white stucco and cubic capitals placed above the door jambs, allows us to appreciate one of the rare examples of ancient dwellings in the late-Samnite period (2nd century BC). Upon entering the house one notices the impluvium bath which is made of fragments of amphorae set on edge, a common technique used in Greece and attested in Pompeii also in the House of the Ancient Hunt. The back wall in the small garden is decorated with wild animals, a highly successful theme in the decoration of open areas. The side walls depict Egyptian style landscapes with animals of the Nile Delta, which probably indicated a link between the owner of the house and the cult of Isis, widespread in Pompeii in the last years of life of the city.
Based on an electoral inscription painted on the façade, the house probably belonged to the magistrate Lucius Ceius Secundus.
Date of excavation: 1913-1914.
Video 1 - Here we are in the viridarium of the House of the Ceii, where restoration works on the frescoes are nearing completion.
Unfortunately over the course of the previous century, the lack of adequate maintenance and indeed several unsuitable restoration practices had resulted in a progressive deterioration of these decorative elements which had gradually extended across the surface, as a result of which when we were finally able to begin this work there was a fairly serious situation to address, particularly with regard to the lower parts of the fresco, which are the most vulnerable to degradation phenomena including rising damp, which, by bringing with it soluble salts that give rise to efflorescence on the paint layer, causes very serious and unfortunately permanent damage, even up to the loss of the paint layer, and therefore there was a need for a thorough and highly complex intervention.
Specifically the most difficult interventions to carry out were, first of all, that of consolidation because there were a series of detachments at all levels of the stratification of the plaster and also at the level of the paint layer, but then above all the cleaning, because there were very stubborn deposits on the surface of the paint layer, for which it was necessary to carry out both chemical and mechanical cleaning. Ultimately it was also necessary to employ a laser, because only in this way were we able to recover sections, primarily but not exclusively in the lower part, also on the hunting scene, where there were substances which resisted any other form of intervention.
And so we have been able to recover a significant part of this botanical decoration on the lower part of the fresco, which previously was scarcely visible and entirely covered by these overlying deposits. Another important phase of the intervention involved actually protecting the room from atmospheric elements, by sealing these gaps which were found between the roofing and the tops of the walls, and which allowed rainwater to enter the room as soon as there was any wind, as well as the ancient openings such as this space which connected the room with the viridarium and the two windows.
Video 2 - Right now I am retouching the fresco in those parts which had been abraded, and I am doing so in a careful manner. However, where we have carried out grouting which is slightly larger than the abrasions - which by the way is done using a Lafarge natural mortar, made of lime and stone parts - we carry out chromatic reconstruction, always dotted in such a way that the grouted surface remains uniform with the rest of the fresco, which of course having been subjected to various interventions and being of a certain age is however already very rough and abraded.