Berryfield Mosaic

Berryfield Mosaic


This spectacular Mosaic was found in the location on which firstsite now stands in 1923.

The find was made by tenant gardener William Lewis, while he was digging a hole for rubbish in the gardens of East Hill House.

After its discovery, the mosaic was lifted and donated to Colchester Castle Museum by the landowner Douglas Round. For more than eighty years it was displayed propped up against the wall in the Castle’s well house.

The construction of firstsite was the ideal opportunity to conserve and re‐display this artefact horizontally and in its original position. Now it can be appreciated as it would have looked – as the dining room floor of a Roman townhouse.

Originally, the mosaic had floral designs in the centre and at its four corners. A rubbish pit was dug through one of the corner panels in the Middle Ages. In the four rectangular panels, sea monsters chase dolphins.

Mosaic move, 2010 - 2011

The project to move the mosaic was a collaboration between firstsite and Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service. Cliveden Conservation carried out the work with the generous support of The Heritage Lottery Fund.

The team from Cliveden Conservation began work at Colchester Castle Museum in September 2010 where they removed the mosaic by cutting it into sections. The pieces were taken away to Cliveden's workshops to be conserved and were re-installed during late February and early March 2011.

Images of the process can be found in the gallery and you can watch the team from Cliveden at work on this delicate and fascinating job on firstsite's You Tube Channel.

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