CHAPTER 8 - CIPOLLINO IN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES, FORMERLY PART OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE -
 

THE UNITED KINGDOM

Most of the cases where cipollino has been found in the UK have been connected with the upsurge in the interest in coloured marble decoration which occurred at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century and which led to the reopening of the Roman quarries in the 19th century by Brindley, the marble merchant and his associates. In 1899, Brindley wrote “The quarries are now being re-worked; several shipments of beautiful quality and some monolithic columns are being used in the decoration of the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Westminster.” At the beginning of the 20th century the English firm ‘Grecian Marbles’ reopened some ancient quarries in the Marmari and Karatza areas (Papageorgakis, 1964), extracting and exporting cipollino until the beginning of the second world war.1 Vanhove also writes of the reopening of one of the ancient Roman quarries which destroyed some of the evidence of the original.2

In London, besides Westminster Cathedral, there is evidence of this later quarried cipollino in the floor of the Durbar Court of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in the Athenaeum in Pall Mall, at the Old Bailey, the Drapers’ Company, St Peter’s Italian Catholic Church in Hatton Garden and The Royal Academy. There is also cipollino used in the Church of the Wisdom of God in Lower Kingswood, which was consecrated in 1892; in the Roman Catholic church of St. Peter in Edinburgh, there is also a considerable quantity of cipollino.

1 Lazzarini, L., Poikiloi Lithoi, versiculores maculae: I marmi colorati della Grecia antica. Storia, uso, diffusione, cave, geologia, caratterizzazione scientifica, archeometria, deterioramento, Roma, 2007, p.188.
2 Vanhove, D., Roman Marble Quarries in Southern Euboea and the Associated Road Networks, in: E.J. Brill (Ed.), Leiden, New York, Koln. 1966, p. 22..