The pigments used include cinnabar, one of Pliny's costly 'florid' pigments, the rest of those found on the first phase painting are described by Pliny as 'plain', and are blue frit or Egyptian blue, yellow ochre, green, red and brown earths, lime-white and black.

A pot containing cinnabar was actually found in another excavation nearby (28 Park Street, 1984 excavations).

Another richer colouring agent, too rare1 to be mentioned by Vitruvious or Pliny, was gold leaf. One loose fragment of plaster, recovered from the construction fill of a post-medieval well which had cut through the edge of the painting, carried a trace of gold leaf. This fragment was coloured with the same yellow ochre and composed of the same double-layered intonaco as the other painted plaster from this room. Though retrieved from a much later context, there is little doubt that it originally came from the same decorative scheme. One possibility, to judge from the use of gold leaf on paintings in other parts of the Roman world, is that it formed part of the ceiling decoration.

Fragment of plaster with gold leaf from the 16th.century well.

Blue frit or Egyptian blue was manufacured in Italy in the Puteoli region. This pigment was marketed in the form of pellets and several of these pellets were excavated in Southwark2.

Magnified section of the two layers of intonaco on the fragment of plaster with gold leaf. the total thickness of the two layers of intonac is about one millimetre.
1 Roger Ling, Roman Painting, 1991. page 209

2 Calvert's Buildings, (CB.181.[170])

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