- Museum number
- Object: Amphitheatre at Pola
Illustration to Stuart and Revett's "The Antiquities of Athens" volume IV (London, 1816) chapter 1, plate I; view of the western side of an amphitheatre with three levels, at the edge of the sea, surrounded by verdant countryside, with a man driving cattle in front of it towards a pool of fresh water outside the city, two men approaching the shore in a small boat with barrels to fill and another two men filling a tub with water from the same source, carried in an ox-drawn cart on the right; in the foreground, Slavonian women washing clothes in the sea and two men loading an ass.
- Production date
Height: 115 millimetres
Width: 143 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The fourth and final volume of the 'Antiquities of Athens' was published by Josiah Taylor; several of the plates were in his possession and he passed these, with a large body of material relating to the Antiquities, to Joseph Woods, who edited this volume. Aside from the plates, this material included several drawings, letters and twenty-six books marked with letters of the alphabet, containing sketches, geographical sketches, notes, extracts from ancient and modern authors on Greece, much of which had been published in the earlier volumes, as well as material relating to other projects, such as the beginnings of various essays on Architecture, Truth, the Absurd, etc. There were also papers from Revett and belonging to his family, which Woods was allowed to use.
Of this volume, the material already prepared for publication by Stuart included: the plates for Chapter 1, except numbers III and IV, which were made from completed drawings by Stuart, and numbers V and VI, which were drawn up from the sketches; the plates for Chapter 2, although the front elevation of the Temple of Augustus and Rome had to be re-engraved. Most of the plates had no measurements, except a few added in pen. Woods supplied these details from the sketches and notes among the material passed to him by Taylor, making them agree as far as possible by cross-reference and comparison, where they did not. Woods also had to supply much of the textual information, from the same source.
In his preface to Volume IV, Woods provided useful information on the entire Athenian enterprise, including a summary of the expedition from Stuart's journal and Revett's letters, biographies of both, a short account of Boetia found among Stuart's papers, a letter from Revett to his father relating how he, Stuart, Gavin Hamilton and Matthew Brettingham walked from Rome to Naples in the summer of 1748, suffering discomfort and robbery, and a reconstruction of Stuart's perilous journey from Athens to Thessalonica, from his letters. At the end of the volume, Woods also supplied an index to all four volumes and an appendix containing Revett's 'Observations and Corrections to the first three volumes..'.
According to Woods, a letter from Revett to his father of 1749 contains the first mention of the idea for the Antiquities, which apparently originated with Revett and Hamilton, who persauded Stuart to join them. It was to consist of three volumes: the first containing fifty-three views of the country and its buildings; the second containing seventy-one plates of plans, elevations and architectural details; the third, sixty-seven plates of sculpture. It was to be finished in four years, with most plates engraved by the artists themselves after returning to England, who expected the income from it to cover the expenses and a profit of £10,000.
In the event, only Stuart and Revett left Rome in 1750: they went first to Venice but could find no passage to Athens, so they made an excursion to Rovigno and Pola; they finally left Venice in 1751, travelling to Athens via Zante, Chiarenza, Patrass, Pentagivi, Vostizza, Corinth, Cenchrea, Megara and Salamis. At Athens they stayed with a Greek named Logothti, who served as British consul there. From Athens they made a trip to Thermopylae with fellow antiquaries James Dawkins and Robert Wood, visiting sites including Negroponte, Thebes, Lividia, Helicon, Parnassus, Salona, Castri, or ancient Delphi and Corinth, returning to Athens on 24 May 1751. Dawkins and Wood left Athens a few days later and Stuart and Revett remained in Athens until 5 March 1753, when the death of the 'famous Osman Kislar Aga' resulted in political upheaval and the travellers took the advice of the British ambassador to Constantinople, Sir James Porter and left Athens for Smyrna. They travelled via Egina, Delos, Mount Cynthos, Mycone, Megale Limniona, Thymiana and Scio. From Smyrna they visited Naxia, Paros and Antiparos, returning to Athens once more soon after the 18th June 1753.
Political tumult again upset the travellers' plans, when the execution of 'Bechir, the Kara Kislar Aga' and the consequent flight of the Governor of Athens, his creature, brought in a successor who rendered himself so unpopular that riots broke out.
Revett's letters reveal how a quarrel arose between the pair and their host Logotheti, who was asking for money, which reached such heights that Stuart knocked the consul down: he left for Constantinople to explain and request a renewal of their protection and recommendation from Sir James Porter, while Revett stayed at Athens, following on later. Stuart travelled with the retinue of the principal Athenian nobleman, 'Hadgee Ali' and his brother, 'Hadgee Achmet Aga', but discovered that his companions were plotting to kill him and escaped them at a village not far from Salonica. Woods reconstructs Stuart's account of his escape from two letters and a verbal account Stuart later gave to the Bishop of Dromore, which was printed by Caldwell, to whom the Bishop passed it on, in Volume II: he was obliged to feign illness, spend a night in a thicket with his pursuers encamped with torches around him until a fortunate rainfall made them leave, and finally pretend he was mad. In Salonica Stuart was received by the consul, Mr Paradise; Revett left Athens on 27 January 1754, but was taken prisoner by a Maltese corsair who demanded a ransom of six hundred dollars. He joined Stuart in Salonica around the 18th February. An outbreak of the plague convinced them to return to England: they left on 20 April 1754, travelling via Smyrna, Scopelo, and the Greek islands, of which Stuart's written accounts are given in the preface, arriving in London at the beginning of 1755.
The first proposals were published in Rome: although it is stated in the first volume that proposals were published at the end of 1748, Revett's letter of 1749 suggests plans were only settled the following year. These were repeated in London in early 1751. According to Woods, a letter from Negroponte in May 1754, probably to Sir James Porter, suggests that at that time they intended only to publish the Lanthern of Demosthenes and the Tower of the Winds, leaving the remainder until they had had the chance to return to Athens and complete their notes. Proposals for the whole were published on 1 January 1755.
On their return, the artists prepared the material they had gathered for publication. The first volume appeared in 1762, published by John Haberkorn; differences then arose between the two which led to Stuart purchasing all Revett's drawings and Revett taking no further part in the publication; although the second volume has the title-page dated 1787, it was published by John Nichols just after Stuart's death on 2 February 1788, with the help of the Society of Dilettanti, edited by William Newton of Greenwich, to whom his widow Elizabeth entrusted it; the third volume was published in 1794 by Nichols, edited by William Reveley; the fourth in 1816 by Josiah Taylor, edited by Josiah Woods.
Much of the material had been prepared by Stuart before his death and several of the plates engraved: however, Newton and Reveley, like Woods, were obliged to supply information as best they could where it was lacking, sometimes compiling chapters and drawing up plates from Stuart's papers, which do not seem to have been as complete as the material which reached Woods. The editors also added their own observations and correctiosn. In his preface to Volume II, Stuart described the order he envisaged for the next two volumes, saying that Volume II would contain 'buildings erected while the Athenians were a free people', while the third would contain buildings erected after they became 'subject to the Romans'. The fourth volume contains material which Woods thought 'altogether far too interesting to be suppressed' and material to fill gaps in earlier volumes, such as plates of the rest of the Parthenon frieze. The latter three volumes also contained the Athenian material gathered during the expedition commissioned by the Society of Dilettanti and undertaken in 1762-4 by Revett, Dr Chandler and William Pars, to document the Ionian antiquities, including Pars' drawings from the Parthenon (the Ionian material was published in two volumes in 1764).
Artists' names are often missing from the plates: since several engravers were employed, the name has been given in the present catalogue records of whichever engraver seems most probable considering the quantity of signed work of the kind (view, vignette or architectural) in the relevant chapter, volume, or failing that, all four volumes, and when it was engraved (whether in Stuart's lifetime or not, in which case the incidence in the first volume has been considered the best guide); similarly, although the distinction may not always have been so clear in practice, the architectural drawings have generally been ascribed to Revett, the views, vignettes etc. to Stuart, where there is no inscription in the plate; exceptions are the plates which were made up from scattered papers and so could owe as much to each; these principles have been adopted pending further information. The descriptions of the plates are taken from the text.
For more information on the publication of volumes II and III, see Hh,13.2.2, Hh,13.3.11
See also 'James "Athenian" Stuart, the Rediscovery of Antiquity', (Susan Weber Soros ed., exh. cat., Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture, New York, publ. Yale UP 2007)
- Not on display
- Associated titles
Associated Title: The Antiquities of Athens
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- Prints and Drawings
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