Designing the museum

Although the mosaics were the primary focus of the museum programme, it was thought that visitors should be given other means for understanding the residence. The use of hangings, furniture and even a diorama (the owner welcoming colonists) helped clarify the appearance and the use of the various rooms. The cooperation of Michel Feugère (CNRS, Unité Mixte de Recherche 5140 Archéologie des sociétés méditerranéennes, Lattes-Montpellier), helped in the creation of objects with solid iconographic and technical bases.

To give an idea of the wall decorations – of which no trace was found – canvasses and hangings were designed, using one of the rare wall paintings to have survived from the second half of the 5th century CE (Coire, Switzerland), as well as clothing patterns from Late Antiquity (consular diptych of Flavius Felix, 428 CE).

Several pieces of furniture were built using the same principles, such as the semi-circular banqueting couch set in an apse. In one of the living areas, a bookshelf was placed that was based on an image from a mosaic in the mausoleum of Galla Placidia (ca. 450, Ravenna). The volume was established by comparison with a wardrobe found in the Villa della Pisanella in Pompeii. It had tubular hinges made from the long bone of a ruminant, which had holes drilled in its side for pegs to attach the door to the frame.


Interactive document - Visualising Rooms A and A'

Visualising Rooms A and A'

In the restored space of one of the official rooms, this diorama uses mannequins and furniture to reproduce a scene from rural life and social relations in Late Antiquity. Here we see the owner and his estate manager receiving colonists.
@ Michel Olive, Laboratoire d'Arts Graphiques, Culture/DRAC PACA
Interactive document - Couch in one of the rooms

Couch in one of the rooms

The model for this reconstruction is based on a scene from a 4th century CE silver dish found in Kaiseraugst (Germany). The woollen covers were woven with parallel stripes of colours that were used in Antiquity.
© CCNBT, fonds Villa-Loupian
Interactive document - The stibadium, or banqueting couch

The stibadium, or banqueting couch

Only the frame of this piece of furniture has been reconstructed. Interwoven straps or laths would have been required to support the mattress on which a guest would have reclined.
© CCNBT, fonds Villa-Loupian
Interactive document - The library, against a reconstituted wall painting

The library, against a reconstituted wall painting

The reconstruction of this piece was based on a depiction in a 5th century CE mosaic from Ravenna.
© CCNBT, fonds Villa-Loupian