James Stuart and Nicholas Revett, The Antiquities of Athens, a book

Published in London, 1762-1816

James 'Athenian' Stuart (1713-88) was an English architect, archaeologist, and painter. After working his way to Rome in 1742, Stuart accompanied Nicholas Revett on an excavation in Naples. In 1751 they travelled to Athens on an expedition organized and funded by the Society of Dilettanti of London.

In Athens they made accurate measurements and drawings of the ancient Greek ruins there, particularly those of the Acropolis, and published their findings in The Antiquities of Athens, the first volume of which appeared in 1762. Its excellent illustrations depicted for the first time the architectural achievements of ancient Greece. The work soon became a source book on ancient Greek architecture and acted as an important influence in the 'Greek revival' of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Illustration: James Stuart sketching the Erechtheum, from The Antiquities of Athens, vol. 2 (1787)

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Bibliography

A. Wilton and I. Bignamini (eds.), Grand Tour: the lure of Italy (London, Tate Gallery Publishing, 1996)

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Museum number

PD 242.C5

PPA94426

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