Corsi Collection of Decorative Stones

view of stone 125

Corsi 125, approx. 145 x 73 x 40 mm, © Oxford University Museum of Natural History

OUMNH Number: 125  
Name and quarry location: Grand antique, bianco e nero antico, from Lez valley, Aubert, near St Girons, Hautes-Pyrénées, France  
Geological description: Breccia of almost black limestone clasts in a compact white granular calcite matrix.  
Comments: This is the only specimen illustrated in Corsi's Catalogo ragionato, but unfortunately he misidentified it. It is undoubtedly grand antique, from the Lez valley in the French Pyrenees. It may be that Corsi was perpetuating an error of the scarpellini. The Yorkshire Museum has a small 19th century black and white limestone breccia slab, most probably also French, labelled ‘Bianco e nero antico nel Isola Proconnese’, suggesting this error was not unique to Corsi. Grand antique was quarried in ancient Roman times mainly from the 4th to the 6th century AD and at various times subsequently. The quarries finally closed during the 20th century (see Price, 2007).  
References: Antonelli (2002b) 270-273; Borghini (1997) 154-156; Corsi (1845) 109-110; Dubarry de Lassale (2000) 234-235; Mielsch (1985) 57, taf.16; Price (2007) 82-83; Rogers (2008) 52-53; Watson (1916) 115-116; Zoppas (a) 174  
Further information:

Corsi's classification: Class 1. Marbles; Section 2. Veined marbles; Species 6. Black and white marbles  
Corsi's text: 52.1 Bianco e nero antico. Marmor Proconnesium... L'Isola di Proconneso nella Propontide ora mare di Marmora.... I moderni lo chiamano marmo bianco, e nero antico... corrisponda al Proconnessio... Ciziceno.  

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