Relief in white limestone (dolomite) (H. 0.68 Br. 0.60 D. 0.10). Yorkshire
Philosophical Society. Found in York "in digging the foundation of a large house
in Mickelgate" (Browning) in 1747.
Browning, Gent. Mag., 102; Stukeley in Phil. Trans. XLVI, 1750,214; Pal.
Brit. III (frontispiece); Camden, Britannia (ed. Gough), III, Pl. III fig. 8 and
p. 62; Wellbeloved, Eburacum, 80ff and Pl. IX, fig. 1; MMM II 391f No. 270
and fig. 309; Hinks in Bruton, Fort Manch., Pl. 16.
A weathered representation of Mithras tauroctone in the usual attitude and
attire. No animals. On either side a torchbearer. Next to Mithras' head the bust
of Sol (l) in radiate crown, and of Luna (r) in crescent.
Under the bullkilling are three other scenes side by side:
1) Standing person lays his hands upon a person, who squats before him and
extends his hands towards the former's thighs (Mithras and Sol).
2) Two persons side by side reclining at table on a couch, which, judging by
parallel stripes, is covered with a piece of cloth or buIl's hide (Sol and Mithras at
3) Sol in a chariot, drawn by one horse, helps Mithras ascend.
From Wellbeloved, p.80:
This Mithraic group was found in the year 1747, at the depth of ten feet below the surface, by some workmen, who were engaged in digging a cellar in Micklegate, opposite to St. Martin's Church. Mr. Drake, to whom it was immediately shown, "being at a loss," as he candidly confessed, "what to make of it, but judging it some representation of a heathen sacrifice or game, sent to his friend, Dr. Stukeley, as just a drawing of it as could be taken;" whose explanation of it was afterwards communicated by Mr. Drake to the Philosophical Society, and published in the Transactions of the Society for the years 1743-1750, Vol. X. p. 1311. This curious relic came, whether by gift or purchase the author knows not, into the possession of Mrs. Sandercock, of York, by whom it was bequeathed, with other property, to the late Dr. Robert Cappe, youngest son of the late Rev. Newcome Cappe; and after his death was presented, by the advice of the author, (the Yorkshire Philosophical Society not being then in existence,) to the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral, who placed it in the vestibule of the Minster library.
From the BL site for the Stukeley image:
Summary: A sketch of a stone relief depicting Mithras sacrificing a bull, found in Micklegate, York in 1747; accompanied by a letter to Smart Lethieullier, Esq., dated 9 Oct. 1749: 'I have inserted a drawing of a sculpture on a stone found at York in digging a foundation 10 feet deep in micklegate. Mr Drake of York sent it to me at Stamford just before the Duke of Monatgu invited me to Town. Mr Drake wanted my opinion of it. I sent him word, it was Mithras sacrificing a bull, in the Spring quarter at the suns entrance into ♉ the figures at bottom twisted round with a snake, I take it to be gemini II to that sign, producing the whole variety of natures works, by new generations. I hope madam Lehuillier likes the book of anthems, my respects wait on her. I am your faithful humble servant Wm Stukeley'. Partial inscription on verso of letter 'To Smart . . . at his'.
Summary: Titled ‘Drawing of a Stone in bas-relief found in Micklegate, York, 1747, representing Mithras sacrificing at the vernal Equinox; with an explanatory letter from Dr. Stukeley to Smart Lethieullier, Esq. 1749.’ in the Catalogue of Maps, Prints, Drawings, etc., forming the geographical and topographical collection attached to the Library of his late Majesty King George the third, etc, London, 1829.
Summary: Titled ‘A sketch, in pen and ink, of "a stone in basso relievo, found 10 foot under ground, in Micklegate, York, in 1747," representing "Mithras sacrificing a bull, in the spring quarter, at the sun's entrance into"; drawn by Dr. Wm. Stukeley, with an explanatory letter from him to Smart Lethieullier, Esq., 9 Oct. 1749: 1 f. x 7 1.2 in.: with a small copy of the same, 3 1/2 in. x 3 in.’ in the Catalogue of the manuscript maps, charts, and plans, and of the topographical drawings in the British Museum, London, 1844-1861.
Identifier: System number 004981943
Notes: Citation/references note: British Museum. Catalogue of Maps, Prints, Drawings, etc., forming the geographical and topographical collection attached to the Library of his late Majesty King George the third, etc
Physical Description: 1 drawing : pen and black ink ; sheet 18.8 x 31.3 cm
Copy Note: Ownership: Copy at Maps K.Top.45.11.c. Part of King George III's Topographical Collection. Donated to the nation by George IV.