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An Account Of Roman Antiquities Discovered At Woodchester In The County Of Gloucester. By Samuel Lysons F.R.S. & A.S.

Samuel Lysons

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Variant Title

Description Des Antiquites Romaines Decouvertes A Woodchester, Dans Le Comte De Gloucester.
Roman Antiquities At Woodchester


London: MDCCXCVII., Sold by Cadell and Davies, B. & J. White, Edwards, Payne, Robson, Nicol, Elmsley and Leigh & Sotheby., [1797]

Physical Description

[2], 20, [4], 21, [1] p., etched t.-pl., etched dedic., 40 pl. (9 double): illus. (1 head-, 1 tail-piece); 564 mm ( Broadsheet).

General Note

According to Brunet and Graesse there exists also a version of this work with only 22 plates, of which only three are coloured. They cite the title of this version as, 'An account of Roman antiquities discovered at Woodchester, near Minchin Hampton, in the county of Gloucester'.


[Etched t.pl., etched dedic.] - List Of Plates - [Text] - [French t.p.] - Liste Des Planches - [Text in French] - [Plates].

Responsibility Note

Plate VII is signed by Lysons, 'delin. et fecit'; plate XI by Lysons as draughtsman and T. Tovey (or 'T. Tong'?) as engraver; plate XXXVII by T. Lawrence and I. Flaxman as draughtsmen and G. Fiesinger as engraver; plate XL by T. Lawrence as draughtsman and G. Fiesinger as engraver; plates XXXVIII and XXXIX by Fiesinger as draughtsman and engraver.

Many plates carry the imprint of S. Lysons as publisher (variously dated 1794-1797).

The name of the printer, A. Strahan, is given on the French title-page.

The work is dedicated by the author to George III.


ESTC, T107436.
Royal Institute of British Architects, British Architectural Library ... Early printed books, 2 (1995), no. 1982.
Scenery of Great Britain and Ireland ... library of J.R. Abbey (1952), 143.
R. Sweet: Antiquaries: the discovery of the past in eighteenth-century Britain (2004).
On Lysons see C. Johns, 'Samuel Lysons: a founding father of Romano-British archaeology', in Mosaic 27 (2000), p. 8-10.
L. Fleming, Memoir and select letters of Samuel Lysons (1934).
S. Scott, Art and society in fourth-century Britain: villa mosaics in context (2000).
St Clair Baddeley, The Roman pavement at Woodchester (1926).

Summary Note

The text is given first in English, then in French - the French part having its own title page. The French title is, 'Description Des Antiquites Romaines Decouvertes A Woodchester, Dans le Comte De Gloucester'. Most plates carry dates, ranging from 1794 to 1797.

Samuel Lysons published several antiquarian works; and in 1818 became honorary Antiquary of the Royal Academy.

This description of the 2nd-century Roman villa at Woodchester in Gloucestershire remains the principal account of the site. Lysons unearthed several fragments of sculpture, now in the British Museum, and the celebrated 'Orpheus Pavement', which remains in situ and is uncovered from time to time. The text is largely a commentary on the plates.

The forty aquatint plates fall into the following groups: I. Map of Woodchester; II-VI. Views & plans of Woodchester; VII-XXI. Mosaic pavements; XXII-XXVII. Plans, sections & views of hypocausts &c.; XXVIII-XXXI. Walls, columns, marbles, stucco; XXXII-XXXV. Pottery & utensils; XXXVI-XL. Sculpture. There are also a head-piece (a view of Woodchester) and tailpiece (reverses of medals).

All plates are coloured by hand, except numbers 29 and 33-40.


A reprint of this book appeared in the second volume of Lysons' Reliquiae Britannico-Romanae (1813-1817).


31 December 1798: 'It having been recommended by M.r [James]Wyatt, Resolved that M:r Lyson's Work on a Roman Villa, &c., which has been discovered, in Gloucestershire, be purchased, for the use of the Royal Academy.' (RA Council Minutes III, 7).

11 March 1788: 'The Treasurer produced the following, viz: The 16th, 17th & 18th N.o of Malton's Tour. M.r Sam: Lysons's Roman Antiquities, & M.r Jno Chamberlaine's 11th & 12th Nos of his Portraits from Hans Holbein.' (RA Council Minutes III, 27).

Binding Note

19th-century morocco; spine lettered 'Roman Antiquities At Woodchester. Lysons. R.A. 1797.'


Antiquities, Roman - Villas, Roman - Architecture, Roman - Mosaics, Roman - Pavements (surface elements) - Great Britain - Gloucestershire - Woodchester - History
Excavations - Archaeology - Great Britain - Gloucestershire - Woodchester - 18th century
Plans - Sections - Views - Surveys - Reports - Great Britain - 18th century
Pictorial works - Aquatints - Hand coloring - Great Britain - 18th century


George III King of Great Britain, dedicatee
Andrew Strahan, printer
Benjamin White, publisher
John White, publisher
James Edwards, publisher
Payne, publisher
James Robson, publisher
George Nicol, publisher
Peter Elmsley, publisher
George Leigh, publisher
Samuel Sotheby, publisher
T. Tong, , engraver
Gabriel Fiesinger, draughtsman, engraver
Sir Thomas Lawrence PRA, draughtsman
John Flaxman RA, draughtsman
Thomas Tovey, engraver
Cadell and Davies (London), publisher
B. and J. White, publisher
Leigh and Sotheby (London), publisher

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