St Clair Archive - 1830s Drawings

It's actually not that easy curating an exhibition on behalf of the British Museum - there is so much to choose from in the St Clair Archive, and obviously I can only show a few highlights. The pressure ...

Neil MacGregor used to be the director of the National Gallery, and I've always felt that he had more of an affinity with pretty pictures than with objects - hence the number of more 'arty' shows at his British Museum (Samuel Palmer, American Prints, etc.). So I feel sure that had the Museum been able to put on the promised exhibition of highlights from the St Clair Archive that they are defiantly not hiding away, then Mr. MacGregor would have wanted these pretty drawings in it. Since Mr. MacGregor is always so charming, the least I can do is include them in our joint virtual exhibition.

These are a few of the more interesting drawings of Athens from a sketchbook dating to the 1830s. They show Athens the way it would have looked at the time of Greek Independence.

A general view of Athens from the south-west.

Close-up of above, showing the Acropolis - the Medieval tower was still standing (Schliemann later financed it's removal).

A view of the Nike Temple, from the Propylaea. One of it's friezes depicted the Battle of Marathon.

The Lysicrates Monument, to the east of the Acropolis, was in those days still ofen called the Lantern of Demosthenes - and used as a library. Dating to 334 BC it is a very early example of the use of the Corinthian order on the exterior.

View of Athens from the south-east, showing the temple of Olympian Zeus (bottom left) and the Acropolis.

Detail of above. The Parthenon East facade was still standing, but the sides had not yet been reconstructed by Nicholas Balanos (1930s).

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