East Wing exterior of The British Museum (the King's Library), a print

London, England, AD 1828

The Greek-Revival style

The East Wing, built between 1823 and 1828, was the first part of Sir Robert Smirke's new building for The British Museum The ground floor was used to house the library of King George III (the 'King's Library') and the upper floor was for public exhibitions of objects from the collections.

This print of 1828 shows the outside of the East Wing as seen from what remained of the Museum's gardens. The new Museum was designed in an architectural style called 'Greek-Revival' which was fashionable at the time. Its simple, classical lines are well shown here.

By 1847 all four wings of Sir Robert Smirke's quadrangular design were built. However, within ten years the inside of the quadrangle had been filled by a new building, the famous Reading Room. Later, the Smirke façades on the inside of the quadrangle were much altered.

The 'Great Court' is accessible once again, and the façades have been restored to their former glory.

Find in the collection online

More information



Height: 130.000 mm
Width: 100.000 mm

Museum number

Archives CE115/3/113/5


Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore