I’ve always loved mosaics. From jewellery set with tiny pieces of glass to sprawling floors, I’m fascinated by the alchemy of creating pictures from pieces of coloured stone. Years ago I even took several workshops on how to create my own mosaics, working in both the regular and reverse transfer processes. I ended up making my own mosaic table top, which has since been carted across the world with me in several moves. It currently sits in our shed and is in a sorry state of repair, so is a project for me this summer.
Near to where I live is the city of St Albans, once called Verulamium and one of the most important Roman towns in Britain. There was a lot of wealth in Verulamium, with many splendid villas being built there, as well as a baths, basilica and forum, all important fixtures in any decent Roman town. Now all that remains are a few fragments of the old city wall, and, beneath the parks and streets, wonderful mosaic floors, several of which have been removed and preserved in the excellent local museum.
As you can see the designs are amazingly modern, considering they were made almost two thousand years ago. I particularly like the semi-circular shell pattern – it predates Art Deco by almost two millennia, proving that really, there are no new ideas. And, if you go to the nearby park, you can see a mosaic floor still in situ.
Protected by a modern building, this beautiful floor was once part of a grand reception room. Complete with hypocaust underfloor heating, it comprises a series of panels with repeating designs. But I think the best thing about it is that it is where it has always been since it was laid, gleaming and new, all those centuries ago. I imagine how pleased the householder must have been, how proud that they had the funds to buy such a magnificent floor.
Now, perhaps, mosaic is something you have in your bathroom, or on the top of an outdoor table. But it must have been wonderful to live in a home where such beauty ran underfoot from room to room, full of stories and patterns and colour. What do you think?
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I’ve yet to explore the Roman part of the town… one of these days 😉
So much to see, so little time… 🙂 Let me know if you ever do get the chance x
Oh I will, Helen 😀
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I might try and find it x
Let us know if you do! 🙂 x
Yes, I’ve never been there before x
It’s a really lovely place 🙂 x
I am glad that we preserve these amazing mosaic floors for future generations. I think we could all learn something about patience and attention to detail from studying how they are made.
Qualities that seem to be dying out in the world…
Me too – they do speak of a lost time when craftmanship was the norm, rather than the exception…
I love all things Roman. Here in Spain, there are a lot of Roman remnants. The mosaics are extraordinary and stand the test of time.
They really are testament to the craftmanship of their creators, aren’t they? Lucky you, to have so many remnants nearby 🙂
I know. Here’s a taste. https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2019/06/10/tarragona-a-city-of-living-history/
Gorgeous mosaic. And the craftmanship that it took to make that!! I did some reading about Pompeii during my undergrad and saw how some of the mosaics were beautifully preserved–just waiting to be discovered by this modern age, like diamonds hidden under refuse. The Romans knew how to create things that lasted!
I’d love to go to Pompeii! I was supposed to go many years ago but the day we were there it was closed 😦 I’ll get there one day! And I agree – the amount of Roman ruins still standing in this country are testament to their skill and the way they built things to last. I love how you describe them, as diamonds hidden under refuse – that’s perfect!