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Frederick H. Evans
Westminster Abbey: 12th-Century Mosaic Floor at the Sanctuary
7 5/16 × 8 7/8 ins (18.6 × 22.6 cm) (image and sheet)
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Purchased with the Lola Downin Peck Fund, 1969, Accession Number: 1969-35-18
Curatorial description (Accessed: 2 January 2017)
Although Evans indicated that this mosaic floor was created in the twelfth century, the surface surrounding the High Altar of Westminster Abbey was in fact laid in 1268. King Henry III (1207-1272) commissioned the mosaic from Roman craftsmen who specialized in the opus sectile, or "cut work" technique, commonly called "Cosmati" after a well-known Italian family of mosaic artists. Materials used here include blue, red, and turquoise glass as well as yellow limestone, purple porphyry, green serpentine, and onyx. Evans's unusual composition privileges the floor, drawing attention to the intricate and abstract design of squares, rectangles, and roundels.