BSR at the Estorick Collection: Ostia and modern art


Fishes (end of 1st to beginning of 2nd century AD), Mosaic, 47 x 58 cm, Courtesy: Soprintendenza Speciale per I Beni Archeologici di Roma

This autumn the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art held an exhibition bringing together roman antiquities and modern art. Marbles, mosaics and wall paintings from the archaeological site of Ostia Antica were juxtaposed with the work of two modern Italian artists, Umberto Mastroianni and Ettore de Conciliis.


Installation view of ‘Roman Ostia: Ancient Ruins, Modern Art’, 2014

Throughout the exhibition there were several talks given by BSR staff and former award-holders. Professor Simon Keay (BSR Research Professor in Archaeology; University of Southampton) spoke on the 22 November about Ostia and the ports of Rome and visitors were particularly interested in the exciting excavations at Portus.

Artist Emma Stibbon RA (University of Brighton; Derek Hill Foundation Scholar 2010-11) came to give a talk about the influence of ruins on her work. Whilst at the BSR, being confronted by ruination everyday she made several large studies from ancient Rome such as the forum and Colosseum as well as modern ‘ruins’ like the Foro Italico. Emma took visitors on a tour of the exhibition and discussed her own visit to Ostia Antica.

Emma Stibbon

E Stibbon ‘Colosseo I’ ink on paper, 124 x 175cm, 2010


This blog post was written by Alice Bygraves, former City of Rome student and Administrative Assistant at the BSR. She is now Marketing and Administrative Assistant at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art.

Portus. Opera in natura

Photographic exhibition by Franco Mapelli 

Opening: Monday 3 February 2014, 18:30

Opening times: Monday to Saturday 16.30 – 19.00, to 15 February


The Portus Project, comprising the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma, the British School at Rome and the University of Southampton, has commissioned Franco Mapelli to give a visual interpretation of the Archaeological Park of the Trajanic Port. This exhibition is made up of 30 large-scale photographs through which the photographer focuses on the relationship between archaeological remains and nature.

The catalogue, published by Quodlibet, shows that Portus is not only a fascinating archaeological site, but also a place of extraordinary natural beauty.

“Franco Mapelli is a photographer of boundaries, in the sense that he has a lens trained to linger on the places that are no longer and not yet” – writes Maria Perosino in the catalogue – “… Even here he stumbles over a boundary: the one that nature draws, when she reclaims its spaces.”

You can find further details about the exhibition on our website:

See the Portus Project website for more information: