Guided Tour of Last Supper in Pompeii Exhibition, Ashmolean Oxford

Friday 13 December 2019

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2PH

Event Information

Following the successful visit to the V&A's FOOD: Bigger than the Plate exhibition, the Guild is pleased to offer members the opportunity to join a tour of the Last Supper in Pompeii exhibition at the Ashmolean in Oxford. The tour will take place on Friday 13 December 2019 and will be led by Ilaria Perzia, the Assistant Curator of the exhibition.


The guided tour will last for around an hour. The Guild will not be charging members for this trip. Members will need to purchase their own tickets for the exhibition, and make independent travel arrangements to the museum. If you do wish to attend please note that the Museum strongly recommends that you book your tickets in advance.


For more information on the exhibition, please see:


When the ash from Mount Vesuvius began raining down on Pompeii in AD 79, people in and around the town were engaged in typical Italian activities – eating, drinking and producing food. Located in the sunny paradise of southern Italy, Pompeii was sandwiched between lush vineyards and fertile orchards to one side and the bountiful waters of the Bay of Naples on the other. The town produced more wine, olive oil and fish-sauce than it could consume, and exported its gourmet products across Italy. Everything from the exquisite mosaics from the villas of the wealthy to the remains found in kitchen drains reveal what the people of Pompeii ate and drank. Last Supper in Pompeii explores this ancient Roman love affair with food (and wine), showing where the Romans got their culinary inspiration and how they exported sophisticated ingredients and recipes across the empire, as far afield as Britain. Many of the 300 objects, on loan from Pompeii and Naples, have never before left Italy. They range from the spectacular furnishings of the Roman dining room to actual food which was carbonized as the volcano erupted.


Pompeii, exactly as it was in AD 79, has vanished. In the years after the disaster, survivors returned to recover what they could and looters made off with more. Excavations in the 18th century brought much to light but were conducted without the benefit of modern techniques, and heavy-handed reconstructions were of variable benefit. On top of this, a hail of different sorts assaulted the city again in the allied bombings of 1943. Yet Pompeii remains an archaeological miracle – one of the most visited historic sites on the globe and our most important portal to the ancient Roman world. Dr Paul Roberts, Head of the Department of Antiquities and exhibition curator, says: ‘The evocative names given to the excavations (the Villa of the Mysteries; the House of the Tragic Poet) have inspired everything from Victorian exhibitions, swords-and-sandals romances to countless scholarly works. Our fascination with the doomed people of Pompeii and their everyday lives has never waned. What better connection can we make with them as ordinary people than through their food and drink?’


To book a place for the Ashmolean Pompeii exhibition tour, please reserve a place by emailing PRE-REGISTRATION IS ESSENTIAL and members do need to purchase their own tickets for the exhibition. If you find you are unable to honour your booking, please advise Jonathan at the earliest possible opportunity so we can offer your ticket to another Guild member.

Getting to this Event

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2PH

For those travelling by train, you will need to take the train to Oxford railway station. Those travelling from London can now travel from either Paddington or Marylebone station. If travelling from Marylebone, Oxford station at the end of the line is closer, but you can take a bus from Oxford Parkway.