Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ancient Roman chickens

A question came up about the Roman mosaic of a Dorking chicken, mentioned in the Backyard Poultry article, Heritage Chickens for Your Homestead. The rooster, with plumage still typical of Dorkings today and five toes, accompanies the god Mercury. The mosaic is from a Roman city on the Danube in what is now Austria, dated to the third century AD. The image appears on page 453 of A History of Domesticated Animals by F.E. Zeuner, 1963 edition, in Chapter 22, Domestic Fowl. The mosaic is on display in Niederosterreichisches Landesmuseum, Vienna.

An even older mosaic, dating back to the first century BC, is in The Burrell Collection in Glasgow, Scotland. The Burrell Collection is housed on the grounds of Pollok House in Glasgow, one of the Glasgow Museums. Pollok Estate has been the home of the Maxwell family since the mid-13th century. The current house is an impressive 18th century mansion. Sir William Stirling Maxwell (1818-1878) collected most of the paintings which displayed in the house. In 1966, the current Pollok House was donated by Mrs. Anne Maxwell Macdonald to the City of Glasgow. Its art collection and 361 acres of surrounding parkland were included. In 1998, management of Pollok House was transferred by mutual agreement from Glasgow City Council to the National Trust for Scotland.

This one is not a Dorking, lacking that fifth toe. It's probably a Game.

The house's beautifully kept gardens, including a collection of over 1,000 species of rhododendrons, are also open to the public. Running through them is the White Cart River, spanned by a bridge built in 1757. The collection is housed in a separate facility on the grounds.

The Greco-Roman Collection comprises approximately 650 objects including ceramics and terracottas, oil-lamps, bronze figurines and helmets, marble sculptures, mosaics and glass vessels, and 120 domestic items from Roman Egypt. The Cockerel Mosaic is about 14 inches high. It’s one of the most popular pieces in the collection. The museum makes use of it in family art classes

1 comment:

scott davidson said...

Some pretty designs alright. Doing the painting yourselves is more fun but a good place for ideas for more design is this site of, that I use to help with my wall decorations.
You can browse for a painting like this The tree, by 20th century Czech artist, Frantisek Kupka, for example, , that can be ordered on line and delivered to you.