Chester Renaissance and Cheshire West and Chester Council, in association with the Chester Civic Trust, has commissioned Gary Drostle, a mosaic artist, to design and install three mosaics for Chester’s Roman Gardens.
Professor Steven Broomhead, Chairman of Chester Renaissance, said: “The objective is to refurbish the Roman gardens supporting Chester’s aim to be a ‘must see’ European destination by 2015.
“This phase of the project is partly funded by the Civic Trust, and aims to deliver our vision for Chester through the proposed restoration and improvement works.”
The circular mosaic at the entrance to the Roman Gardens was initiated by Chester Civic Trust to commemorate its Golden Jubilee in 2010. Vice-President
Stephen Langtree, Chairman of the Trust’s Jubilee Committee, said: “We wanted to leave a permanent legacy of our special anniversary and are very pleased to have worked in partnership to achieve this beautiful addition to the Roman Gardens.”
The Four Seasons design is based on a well-known mosaic from Chebba now in the Bardo Museum in Tunis.
The hypocaust mosaic is a two dimensional mosaic, fitting within the existing York stone paving to give the impression that the mosaic has been partly excavated in situ. It is a reproduction of the Ostia style mosaic unearthed in Chester city centre which was laid within the Roman Bath House. The original mosaic was destroyed at the time of the contractors excavations in the 1960s. The sea-creature has been represented whole, based on similar mosaic designs, whilst the main areas of interest from the archaeological evidence are used to create the fragments.
It will also act as an education tool demonstrating to the public as a whole (children and adults) the design and scale of the Bath House mosaic.
Executive Member for Culture and Recreation, Councillor Stuart Parker, said: “The proposed improvement works will enhance the Gardens for visitors and residents.
“The mosaics and improvements will be a fantastic experience for everyone who uses the Gardens. This project sits well within Chester’s Conservation Area and I am sure will become a popular addition to the Gardens and walls experience.”
This project is phase one of proposed improvement works to the Roman Gardens managed by Magnus Theobald from Chester Renaissance. Working closely with Mike Solari, Street Scene, archaeologists Jane Hebblewhite and Peter Carrington and Cheshire West and Chester Council landscape architect Edd Snell who is designing the new layout for the Roman Gardens.