- Museum number
Reconstructed section of plaster wall painting. Roundel in the form of a wreath of leaves and flowers, containing the chi-rho monogram. Roundel placed between two painted columns. Columns and wreath painted in polychrome, chi-rho painted in red on white background.
- Production date
Diameter: 900 millimetres (roundel)
- Curator's comments
- This wall painting was found at Lullingstone, Kent, in the Darenth valley, when the remains of a Roman villa were excavated in 1949. The villa had been built in the late first century AD, and altered and extended several times in the succeeding 300 years. There was evidence for pagan worship at the site well into the fourth century AD, but eventually the family which ran the estate adopted Christianity. At this early date in the history of Christianity, house-chapels and other types of accommodation must have been at least as common as purpose-built churches. A small suite of first-floor rooms at Lullingstone (probably provided with external access) was set aside as a Christian place of worship.
The walls were decorated with elaborate paintings on Christian themes, which have been partially reconstructed . This area bears a monogram formed by the Greek letters chi and rho, the first two letters of Christ's name, which was the standard symbol of Christianity at this period, together with the Greek letters alpha and omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, another symbol of Christ - 'I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last' (Revelation 1:8).
G.W. Meates, The Roman Villa at Lullingstone, II: the wall paintings and finds (Maidstone, Kent Archaeological Society, 1987)
G. de la Bédoyère, Roman villas and the countryside (London, Batsford/English heritage, 1993)
C. Thomas, Christianity in Roman Britain (London, Batsford Academic and Educational, 1981)
- On display (G49/wall)
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number