One of the Ravenna mosaics. © Fishbourne Roman Palace
Exhibition preview: Pavimenta at Fishbourne Roman Palace, Chichester, until March 31 2008
It boasts some fine original Roman mosaics of its own, but a change is as good as a rest, so Fishbourne Palace is welcoming some fine replica mosaics for an exhibition this month.
Pavimenta is the third such exhibition at Fishbourne, featuring mosaics produced in its twin city, Ravenna, Italy (known as the capital of mosaic).
The first, in 1996, showed copies of Ravenna’s stunning Byzantine mosaics. The second, in 2001, displayed copies of medieval mosaics from the town’s basilica, San Giovanni Evangelista.
The latest showcase looks at the development of mosaic art from its early beginnings through to the 12th century AD, with 17 intricate copies of mosaics from both Ravenna and the wider Mediterranean basin.
Included are a simple pebble mosaic of a seahorse from Mozia, dating from the 4th century BC, and a marvellous fragment of mosaic floor from Aquilia, comprised of tiny stone tesserae.
The latter represents the unswept floor of a dining room littered with left-overs from a banquet: fish heads, nut shells and fruit remains, all realistically depicted.
As well as the floor mosaics, copies of Byzantine wall mosaics in rich blues and golds can be seen, with glass tesserae set at angles sparkling in the light.
Have you been to see this show? Why not let us know what you think?