A 19th century Roman micromosaic paperweight decorated with Pliny's Doves
Lot 197
A 19th century Roman micromosaic paperweight depicting Pliny's Doves
Sold for £62 (US$ 104) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
A 19th century Roman micromosaic paperweight depicting Pliny's Doves
with four doves around a gilt bowl, inlaid into a piece of shaped and waisted slate, 11cm wide


  • The present composition gained its title from Pliny's 'Natural History' (bk 36, chapter 184) where he described 'a dove, greatly admired, in the act of drinking, the shadow of its head reflected in the water, while other doves are sunning and grooming themselves on the edge of the bowl'.

    The original mosaic Pliny admired has never been discovered, although in 1737 Cardial Guiseppe Furietti discovered a fragment of mosaic at the Villa Adriana in Tivoli matching that description; scholars now believe it to be a later copy made for the Emperor Hadrian. That the original was of this form there is little doubt, and micromosaics of this design have been reproduced for centuries. A paperweight depicting Pliny's Doves is illustrated in R. Grieco Micromosaici Romani,Gangemi Editore, Rome, page 128.
  1. Rachael Osborn-Howard
    Specialist - European Sculpture and Works of Art
    101 New Bond Street
    London, W1S 1SR
    United Kingdom
    Work +44 208 963 2815
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