Just as the range of materials found on individual bars varies, so too does the way con which they were displayed. Per general, the bar counters at Pompeii and Herculaneum are built of masonry, typically fairly rough opus incertum, though wood counters are also attested (Ellis, Reference Ellis 2004c: 41; Reference Ellis 2005: 48). They were then covered sopra a range of surface treatments, of which marble-cladding was just one option. Plaster was used more widely. Almost all of the well-preserved counters at Pompeii have traces of plaster on their interior faces, while Ellis has noted that 85 were also plastered on their exterior faces (Ellis, Reference Ellis 2005: 49). This plaster was usually painted, a simple red wash being the most popular choice (Kleberg, Reference Kleberg 1957: 116–17; Packer, Reference Packer 1978: 45–7). Painted motifs and figured scenes profilo lavalife are attested on the bars at I.6.5, VI.–33 and IX.6.b, while seven counters were decorated with painted imitation : 49; on ).
Marble-cladding, when it was used, usually was employed alongside these other surface coverings. Painted plaster, durante fact, is found on most of the vertical faces of the marble-clad bars. Only nineteen of the 73 bars on which marble is attested had their exterior faces marble-clad. This is perhaps because applying marble panels onesto verso vertical surface is more difficult than laying them on a horizontal one. Sometimes these vertical faces were painted puro imitate the marble of the counter-tops, as at VI.1.2, VI. and IX.9.1, but mixing of media also occurred on the same face: at I.–11 per celibe panel of coloured marble was inserted into an otherwise fully-painted scheme (Jashemski, Reference Jashemski 1973: 40). The correspondante costs of these different surface treatments can only be guessed. Per simple layer of plaster was probably cheaper than painted plaster, and painted plaster was probably cheaper than marble-cladding, though if expensive pigments were used this might not necessarily have been so. Footnote 12 What is clear, however, is that the deployment of marble-cladding was generally judicious and sparing rather than wholesale. As per result, interior walls, seen only by service personnel, were never marble-ized. While marble is sometimes found elsewhere in the bars – on a niche durante IX.7.24–25 at Pompeii or on the floor of V.9–10 at Herculaneum -, but these instances are rare and marble usually was saved for the counters.
Marble-cladding could have been applied by professionals or amateurs. The haphazard arrangements found on most bars suggest amateurs, but even on these efforts were made onesto locate panels with straight sides along the edges of counter-tops and faces. On other bars, regular panels were lined up along the punto of the vertical faces esatto create per baseboard; grey slates was used for this at IV.15 per Herculaneum. On nine bars at Pompeii, however, per more ornate arrangement is apparent, and durante these cases it is tempting to identify the hands of specialist decorators. Simple schemes are found on the counters at I.9.4 (though it is very damaged) and IX.7.24–25 (see Fig. 5), where the face is carefully covered with alternating rectangular panels above verso baseboard.
On seven counters at Pompeii even more ambitious designs, echoing contemporary patterns con opus sectile flooring, were attempted. Interestingly, on only one of these, at I.9.11, was attention paid to its counter-primo posto, in this case comprising a row of opus sectile hexagons framed by rectangular slabs. Efforts were instead lavished on exterior vertical faces. On three counters, the face was divided into horizontal zones of decoration. At V.4.6–8 rows of rectangular slabs of white and grey ed verso central champ of diamond and triangular polychrome opus sectile, Guidobaldi’s Q2 pattern, bordered by narrow fillets (Fig. 9) (Guidobaldi, Reference Guidobaldi and Pensabene 1985: 182–6). At I.11.1 a lower baseboard of rectangular slabs is surmounted by a central champ of diamond opus sectile panels servizio within squares (Guidobaldi’s Q2 pattern), on culmine of which is verso row of square and diamond panels. A less ornate but carefully structured scheme was employed for the counter at VI.10.1/19, on which the large rectangular panel of granito della sedile di San Lorenzo discussed above is batteria into verso series of horizontal rows of rectangular panels and alongside per large opus sectile diamond in afro (Fig. 10).