Thursday, 22 November 2012

First impressions: ROOM 4 (tablinum)

House of Orpheus,
threshold of room 4 (from atrium)
Photo by V. Vitale 2012
The large and elegant tablinum could be accessed from the atrium (by guestes and clients) and seen from the street (by passers by and neighbours).

The floor was decorated with a black and white mosaic. Unfortunately, it is not entirely visible anymore, so we do not know if there were more elaborate decorations in the middle of it. What can still be seen is the white background and a black double border.

Moreover, the mosaic clearly marks the change of use in the space. Even though there are no (more?) physical doors, a decorated threshold with a geometric pattern (always in b&w) identifies the passage from the atrium to the tablinum. 

House of Orpheus, plan by E. Presuhn
Representation of the view alignement
A similar feature, but with a different pattern, marks the end of the tablinum and the beginning of the garden. The garden itself appears to be not only an autonomous part of the house but also a scenographic background for the tablinum.

According to the conventional disposition of the rooms, the richest and most impressive features were always the most visible for an external (and even and accidental) observer. 
This explains why the tablinum is not at the centre of the house, but  it is visually aligned with the main entrance. The alignment can be more clearly seen on the plan published by Presuhn.

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