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Mosaic from a villa

 

Width: 4.900 m

Gift of Lord Alington

P&EE 1908 12-15 1

Room 49: Roman Britain

    Mosaic from a villa

    Roman Britain, 4th century AD
    From Hemsworth, Dorset

    Venus rising from the sea

    It was first noted that there was a Roman villa with numerous mosaics at Hemsworth in 1831. However, agricultural work continued on the site, and by the time the area was again uncovered in 1908, much had been lost.This panel is the flooring of an apse at one end of a large and imposing reception room. The scene is of Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty, rising from the sea, standing on a shell. She is surrounded in the outer border by fanciful dolphins and other marine creatures.

    When placed on display at the British Museum before the First World War (1914-18), the panel was heavily restored using modern brick, stone and mortar. The curve of the outer edge was slightly distorted through inaccuracies in the mounting of the radial sections in which the pavement was lifted: a more accurate view of the design is now conveyed by the present mounting of the sections. Careful cleaning has revealed the true colours of the tesserae.

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    On display: Room 49: Roman Britain