Reliquiae Britannico-Romanae, containing figures of Roman Antiquities discovered in various parts of England
London, Printed by T. Bensley, for Cadell and Davies [etc.], -1813-1817 (but 1819)
This sumptuous publication, representing nearly twenty-five years of work, illustrates mosaics found on numerous sites excavated by the author, a pioneer of field archaeology and also illustration, far ahead of his time in both discernment and technique. Although Roman mosaics had been encountered previously, notably by Sir Christopher Wren in his reconstruction of London following the Great Fire of 1666, systematic excavation was unknown, and few pavements had been drawn in situ and transcribed into engravings. Lysons’ scholarly publications ushered in a period of great interest in exposing mosaics, and the numbers of known examples multiplied rapidly. Since many mosaics reproduced by Lysons were later damaged by ploughing and gravedigging, in some cases wholly destroyed, his prints have acquired permanent value.