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My travel sketchbook: Diocletian’s Mausoleum

The fact that Vueling, easily the most incompetent airline in the world, lost my luggage throughout the entire course of our holiday to Croatia and Rome meant that I was travelling paintless, and brushless – something of a desperate state of affairs for an artist seeking inspiration abroad. Mercifully I had packed my trusty travel sketchbook in my hand luggage, and as though in defiance of the airline’s ineptitude, I set about sketching with even more gusto than ever.

So having completed my first sketch of the view from our room in Split, I moved onto the next without so much as a breath between turning the page, and I didn’t need to go far to find another inspirational view. In fact by turning my head about an inch, I was able to enjoy, a mere two metres away from the bell tower of St Domnius, this incredibly antiquated, beautifully decadent landscape of ancient Roman columns being hit by the long shadows of a sunny Split morning.

Split Sketch 2

Diocletian’s Mausoleum (2016 ©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

The ancient walls and the freestanding colonnade alongside them are today part of St Domnius Cathedral, but at the time of their construction, almost 2,000 years ago, comprised the mausoleum building at the centre of Diocletian’s Palace where said emperor was destined to live out the afterlife. Despite now housing the Christian centre of Split, the Roman origins of this miraculously intact building are highly evident. Draped with shadow and exhibiting all the signs of their age and glorious past, I found this small corner of architecture both captivating and inspiring. Hence why I rushed to sketch it. Take that Veiling!!

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at

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