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The Leadenhall Street Mosaic

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    OA.290

  • Title (object)

    • The Leadenhall Street Mosaic
  • Description

    Central roundel from mosaic pavement. The surviving medallion consists of two concentric bands of grey tiles within which is an undulating dark grey line or ribbon with its cusps thickened and shaded red. Within the medallion Bacchus is reclining on (or possibly astride) a tigress which walks towards the left. His body and head are turned towards the front facing the tigress which looks back towards him. His torso is outlined deep red and shaded with flesh tones of pale pink and white and rests on a cloak which is tied across his right shoulder; it is worked in blude and turquoise glass tesserae. In his left hand Bacchus holds a thyrsus upright with its terminal resting on his left thigh; it is reticulated in dark grey and turquoise tesserae, as is its pommel. His right arm rests acorss the shoulders of the tigress and in his right hand is a tilted white goblet outlined dark grey. On his head he wears a wreath of vine leaves shaded turquoise and red, tied with a dark grey headband; he wears buskins outlined dark grey and infilled with chequered dark grey and white tesserae intended, perhaps, to represent strips of woven leather. The tigress stands on a pale buff band, representing the ground, and is outlined in dark grey and shaded red and white; her left paw is held high as if she is striding.

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1stC-2ndC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Diameter: 114 centimetres
  • Bibliography

    • Mosaic 32a bibliographic details
    • Neal & Cosh 2009b no. 370.56 bibliographic details
    • Hobbs & Jackson 2010 p. 100, fig. 77 bibliographic details
    • Hobbs & Jackson 2010 p. 111, fig. 86 bibliographic details
    • Roman Britain 1964 p. 58, pl. 22.2 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G49/wall

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition notes

    Mosaic discovered during building work on the premises of the East India Company. The design of the floor was recorded, and it was lifted in sections. During the nineteenth century, the owners allowed the fragments to be stored in the open air, and their condition deteriorated. Three sections, including the central roundel, were subsequently restored, and though the tesserae are in their correct positions according to the early engravings, the present smooth, polished surface represents Victorian conservation rather than the original Roman appearance. The surviving pieces were eventually transferred to The British Museum in 1880. Acquisition details unknown as of September 2003.

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    OA.290

Central roundel from mosaic pavement; depicts Bacchus, riding on a tiger, referring to the myth that the god visited India; with geometric border.

Central roundel from mosaic pavement; depicts Bacchus, riding on a tiger, referring to the myth that the god visited India; with geometric border.

Image description

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Object reference number: BCB55817

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