Romano-British mosaic, attributed to the Durnovarian School (early 4th century AD), Edward Hurst at Masterpiece London, 27 June-3 July. £150,000.
This mosaic from a Roman villa in Dewlish, Dorset, is leaving the English county for the first time this month since it was made around 1,700 years ago, to be exhibited at Masterpiece London. According to Hutchins’s The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset (1774), the villa was first discovered in 1740 when a storm uprooted a tree revealing a mosaic, though it was only between 1969 and 1979 that it was properly excavated under the direction of W.G. Putnam. Edward Hurst bought the fragment, now professionally mounted, last autumn, and says: “The owner had been given it on completion of the excavations at Dewlish, effectively as a thank-you for allowing the dig to take place. Thus, an extraordinary provenance—wonderful to know not only the villa it came from, but even the very room.” He describes it as “similar in style and period to the Hinton St Mary mosaic in the British Museum”, one of the items chosen by Neil MacGregor for his BBC Radio 4 series, A History of the World in 100 Objects.