Roman Mosaics of Britain: South-East Britain v. 3

Roman Mosaics of Britain: South-East Britain v. 3


By (author) Stephen R. Cosh, By (author) D.S. Neal


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  • Publisher: Society of Antiquaries of London
  • Format: Hardback | 600 pages
  • Dimensions: 254mm x 312mm x 58mm | 4,377g
  • Publication date: 15 June 2009
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0854312897
  • ISBN 13: 9780854312894
  • Illustrations note: 531 photographs and line drawings in colour and b&w

Product description

The third volume in this massive project to create the first complete corpus of the Roman mosaics of Britain covers the areas of Britain that were first to come under Roman control and where some of Britain's most impressive mosaics are to be found - in Colchester, Silchester, London and Verulamium, and in villas and palaces at Brading, Bignor, Fishbourne and Rockbourne. In their introduction to the volume, the authors trace the origins of mosaic-making in Britain, and the development of colour palettes and motifs, from the mainly black-and-white geometric designs of first-century Fishbourne Palace, reflecting contemporary Gaulish fashions, to the more elaborate polychrome designs of the third and fourth centuries, featuring figures from classical mythology, some of which (like Brading's Orpheus taming the animals with his music, or Lullingstone's Bellerophon slaying the Chimera) had been invested with new meaning as symbols of Christianity. They consider too the types of buildings with which mosaics are associated, the functions of mosaic-decorated rooms, the materials from which they are made, the impact of mosaic discoveries on early antiquaries and the pioneering mosaic paintings of artists such as Richard Smirke and Charles Stothard, published in Samuel Lysons' "Reliquae Britanniae Romanae (1817)". The catalog follows the format of earlier volumes in providing an account of each mosaic's discovery and locating the mosaic within its building plan. Every mosaic is described, with significant parallels and major references, and illustrated with the authors' own paintings, reproductions of historic engravings and photographs, taken in situ wherever possible, before lifting or restoration. The result is an unrivaled scholarly resource for anyone interested in Roman art, craftsmanship, architecture and social life, which will shortly be complete with the publication of the fourth and final volume on Western Britain, including Wales.

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Author information

David S Neal, FSA (b 1940), was first introduced to Roman mosaics and archaeology at Verulamium in 1957 while studying graphic design at Watford School of Art. In 1961 he joined the Ancient Monuments Inspectorate of the then Ministry of Works as an archaeological illustrator and for almost fifteen years supervised the archaeological drawing office. In this period one of his tasks was to record mosaics found on excavations conducted, or sponsored, by the Government. From 1963 he began his own series of excavations on Roman villas in Hertfordshire and in 1975 became a full-time archaeologist with the Department of the Environment (later English Heritage). He is now a freelance consultant. He was made a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1971 and awarded a Doctor of Letters for his contribution to Romano-British villa studies in 1992. Stephen R Cosh, FSA (b 1950), studied archaeology at Reading University before embarking on a career in teaching. As with David Neal, his interests in art and archaeology led to the study of Romano-British mosaics which he has illustrated since the 1970s, soon adopting NealAes technique. He has written numerous articles on Roman mosaics, particularly the study of regional groups. He has been the Honorary Secretary of ASPROM (the Association for the Study and Preservation of Roman Mosaics) since 1993 and was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 2002. The authors formally agreed to collaborate on the corpus in 1993.

Review quote

With its high production standard, lavish paintings and other illustrations, and its list of distinguished subscribers, this volume is more than a little evocative of the monumental publications of the eighteenth-century antiquaries, who are mentioned at the start. But this is also a highly professional modern work of documentation which far surpasses many catalogues of classical art from the past half-century in its rigour and detail.'--Peter Stewart"Antiquity" (01/01/0001)

Table of contents

Introduction; The topography of the area; The Roman civitates; The towns; Villas and their architecture; Mosaics and room function; First-century mosaics; Second-century mosaics; Third- and fourth-century mosaics; Figured mosaics in the South East; Fourth-century decline; Materials of the tesserae; Early recordings; Note on the catalogue; Mosaics from the Counties of: Bedfordshire; Berkshire; Buckinghamshire; Essex; Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight; Hertfordshire; Kent; London and its suburbs; Surrey; Sussex; Appendix: Comparisons of the sizes of rooms and their mosaic panels for: Colchester; Silchester; Verulamium; London.