ROMAN MOSAICS OF BRITAIN, Vol 1: Northern Britain (Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire and Rutland, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Nottingham and Derbyshire, Suffolk, Warwickshire, Yorkshire, Scotland
Roman Mosaics of Britain, by David S Neal and Stephen R Cosh, is the culmination of more than seventy years of combined research and painstaking draughtsmanship by two authors who are in the forefront of mosaic scholarship. Their work, to be published in four volumes, amounts to a complete illustrated catalogue of every known Roman mosaic in Britain. Many are painted by the authors at 1:10 scale, with individual tesserae painted in gouache to give a faithful representation of the colours.
Nearly 2000 mosaics are now known from Roman Britain, of which some 400 feature in this first work. Presented in the form of a county gazetteer, each mosaic find site is described, with drawings, photographs of figured elements taken at the time of discovery, plans of relevant structures, bibliography and, most important of all, meticulous reconstruction paintings.
"Volume 1 is a splendid achievement and stands proudly beside similar corpora being produced throughout Europe and North Africa" Rosamond, Viscountess Hanworth, President, ASPROM (the Association for the Study and Preservation of Roman Mosaics)
Volume 1 is introduced by an illuminating essay in which the authors discuss the history and techniques of mosaic illustration, the history of mosaic excavation and the subsequent fate of many mosaics, the artistic content, quality and iconography of Romano-British mosaics, the organization of the craft, the methods employed, and the sources of mosaic materials. They also distinguish a number of mosaic ‘groups’, and discuss the links between them - and even the intriguing possibility that we can identify the work of individual mosaic artists. The essay concludes by addressing the questions of chronology and the contribution that mosaic studies can make to an understanding of the function of various types of Romano-British building.
"This splendid volume is the first of four that will comprise the catalogue, a venture of huge commitment and imagination. The authors are deserving of our warmest congratulations for setting about, and achieving, their huge task. Dr Neal and Mr Cosh are true heirs of their distinguished forebears like Samuel Lysons." The late Dr T W Potter, former Keeper of the Department of Prehistoric and Romano-British Antiquities at the British Museum.
Taken together, the four-volume corpus uniquely brings together a huge range of diverse information, and will be an important stimulus to further study. This will also be a corpus to treasure, not least for the splendid quality of the illustrations, which portray - in a way that no photograph can - the aspirations and achievements of the mosaicists who worked in Roman Britain.
1829 Vol 2: South-west Britain (Expected late 2002)
1830 Vol 3: South-east Britain (Expected 2003)
1831 Vol 4: Western Britain (Expected 2004)