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Roman wall painting of a peacock

Roman wall painting of a peacock

In Graeco-Roman mythology the Peacock was identified with Juno (Hera) and was connected with immortality.

This is a fragment of Roman wall plaster featuring a painting of a peacock. It is one of the few partially intact fragments that were recovered during the excavations at Brading Roman Villa in 1881. The means were not developed or available at the time to adequately preserve the crumbling wall plaster when it was uncovered.

The Romans originally imported Peacocks from their native India, and bred them as exotic pets and to eat as a delicacy. In Graeco-Roman mythology the Peacock was identified with the goddess Juno (Hera) and was connected with immortality.

Quick Facts

  • Place excavated Brading Roman Villa
  • Date excavated 1881
  • Painted at Brading Roman Villa
  • Date made about AD 300
  • Dimensions Length 250mm, Width 170mm, Thickness 40mm
  • Made of lime plaster, and painted with coloured pigments
  • Accession number BDGRV: 1881.1.321

Facts

  • The production of plaster in Roman Britain included the use of lime and a fine aggregate such as sand. Artists painting plaster mostly used the fresco technique involving painting onto the plaster while it was still damp, which incorporates the coloured pigments into the plaster and when dry leaves a durable long lasting image.

Did you know?

Domestic interiors of Roman houses were generally dark and claustrophobic, so bright painted walls, especially those with outdoor subjects brightened their living spaces.

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