This book draws on the extensive and reliably documented collections of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, which include the historic Corsi Collection of 1,000 different blocks of polished decorative stone used by the ancient Romans or quarried in Italy in the early nineteenth century, and other collections of historical and modern decorative stones from sites worldwide.
The stones are arranged into geological type, such as alabasters, serpentinites, porphyries and granites, and the large group of marbles and limestones is further subdivided according to dominant colours and markings. Named varieties are shown: the section on serpentinites, for example, covers verde antico, breccia Quintilina and verde ranocchia, which are significant in archaeology. The section includes samples from Greece, Italy, Great Britain, Ireland and the United States, where they are variously used for architecture, sculpture and carved ornaments.
This is an invaluable guide for everyone with an interest in the identification and use of decorative stone, including archaeologists, architects, artists, antique restorers, colleges and museums, the stone trade, and the enthusiastic amateur.