- Museum number
The Stadium at Laodicea; view from one end of stadium, broken tiers on either side, four figures in foreground, camel train in left distance
Pen and grey ink and watercolour, with gum arabic and some bodycolour
- Production date
Height: 299 millimetres
Width: 477 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The drawing was engraved by James Newton for 'Ionian Antiquities', Vol II, 1797, pl 48.
Chandler and Revett's expedition reached Laodicea, about 150 kilometres from the sea, in summer 1765. Chandler recorded that they saw: "a stadium, in a hollow, the form oblong, the area about one thousand feet in extent, with many seats remaining ... A structure of so vast a circumference, when filled with the [ancient] Laodiceans sitting in rows, must itself have been a very glorious and striking spectacle." While Chandler imagines the thousands who had filled the stadium hundreds of years earlier, Pars's drawing evokes the contemporary stillness of the place. They "saw no traces either of houses, churches, or mosques. All was silence, and solitude. Several strings of camels passed eastward over the hill; but a fox, which we first discovered by his ears, peeping over a brow, was the only inhabitant of Laodicea."
Laodicea was founded in the 2nd century BC at the junction of important north-south and east-west trade routes. It became part of the Roman empire in 129 BC and by the 1st century AD had grown rich through trade in wool. The stadium, built in AD79, was 347 metres long, and was used for athletics and gladiatorial combat. The city was badly damaged by an earthquake in the 5th century and never fully recovered. It was abandoned in the 13th century.
See Mm, 11.63 for notes from L. Stainton, "British Landscape Watercolours:1600-1860" (BM, exh. cat., 1985) on Chandler and Revett's expedition to Greece and Asia Minor, 1764-66, which Pars accompanied as official draughtsman.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1977 Oct-Nov, Louisville, Speed Mus, British watercolours, no.17
1985, BM, British Landscape Watercolours, no.42c
2007 Mar-June, Beijing, Palace Museum, Britain meets the World
2021, 24 Mar-5 Sept, London, Sir John Soane's Museum, In Search of Ionia
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Ionian Antiquities
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number