A Roman 19th century micromosaic panel depicting Pliny's Doves
Lot 134
A Roman 19th century micromosaic panel depicting Pliny's Doves
Sold for £13,750 (US$ 23,412) inc. premium
Lot Details
A Roman 19th century micromosaic panel depicting Pliny's Doves
within a decorative border designed as coloured beads with a maroon edge, mounted in a carved walnut frame decorated with flowers and foliage, the panel 30cm wide, 26.5cm high (11.75" wide, 10.5" wide)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Formerly the property of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (1892 – 1988), (born Leon Dudley Sorabji), an English composer, music critic, pianist, and writer


    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 with a very similar decorative border to the present lot is illustrated in R. Grieco Micromosaici Romani,Gangemi Editore, Rome, page 128.
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