Record number 06/752
Author Lawrence, Richard, fl. 1792 - 1818
TitleElgin Marbles, From The Parthenon At Athens: Exemplified By Fifty Etchings, Selected From The Most Beautiful And Least Mutilated Specimens In That Collection; And Accompanied With Explanatory And Critical Remarks On The Style, Composition, And Peculiar Excellence Of Those Transcendent Relics Of Grecian Sculpture. By Richard Lawrence.
ImprintLondon:: Printed By Thomas Davison, Whitefriars; And Sold By The Author, 4, Great Marlborough-Street; John Porter, Pall-Mall; Nicol And Son, Pall-Mall; And Richardson, Cornhill., 1818.
Physical Descriptionviii, 67, [1] p., 50 pl.; 312×395 mm. (Quarto.)
Physical Description NotePlate 35 is misnumbered '34'.
Content Format Note[T.p., dedic.] - List Of Subscribers - To The Reader - Introduction - Description Of The Plates [with plates]; [colophon].
Summary NoteThe publication-date of 1818 is carried by the title-page and all plates - except that the date on pl. 7 may be 1815.

The work describes the sculptures of the Parthenon or temple of Athene Parthenos at Athens, carved by, or under the direction of, Phidias in the fifth century B.C. The surviving sculptures consist of figures from the two pediments (representing Athene and other divinities), the metopes of the entablature (representing battles with monsters and barbarians) and the frieze (showing a procession, possibly that of the Panathenæa), and include both statues and bas-reliefs.

Elgin had received permission to remove the Parthenon sculptures while he was British ambassador at Constantinople in 1801-3. The marbles were displayed in London in 1807 and offered for sale to the British Government. They prompted sharp debate - firstly on whether the Government would be condoning plunder or saving the works from neglect, and secondly on the aesthetic merits of the works themselves. Most viewers preferred them to the more familiar copies of Greek sculpture collected at Rome, and several saw in them an admirable naturalism. Before the British Government bought them (in 1816), a Select Committee of the House of Commons sought the opinions of artists and connoisseurs, including those of the President of the Royal Academy, Benjamin West.
Responsibility NoteAll plates are signed as drawn and engraved by Richard Lawrence.

Each carries his imprint as publisher, and the date.

The printer's name is repeated in the colophon.

The work is dedicated by Richard Lawrence to 'George, Prince Of Wales, Regent ... Under Whose Auspices The Elgin Collection Of Grecian Sculpture Has Enriched The National Treasures Of Ancient Art'.
SubjectMythology, Greek - Iconography
Public sculpture - Sculpture, Greek - Bas-reliefs - Statues - Site-specific works - Monuments - Temples - Greece - Athens - Acropolis - Parthenon - History - 5th century B.C.
Processions - Ceremonies - Greece - Athens - History - 5th century B.C.
Collections - Great Britain - London - 19th century
Art criticism - Art history - Great Britain - 19th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 19th century
Name as Subject Elgin, Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of, 1766 - 1841
Phidias, fl. ca. 465-425 B.C.
Athena (Greek deity)
British Museum
ReproductionsThe work was recorded on microfiche in 1992 (Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey).
ReferencesOn the reception of the sculptures see: I. Jenkins, Archaeologists & aesthetes in the Sculpture Galleries of the British Museum 1800-1939 (1992); A. Ballantyne, 'Knight, Haydon and the Elgin marbles', in Apollo, (1988 September), p.155-9; S. Checkland, The Elgins, 1766-1917 (1988); B.F. Cook, The Elgin marbles (1984; repr. 1993); W. St.Clair, Lord Elgin and the marbles (3rd. ed., 1998); J. Rothenberg, "Descensus ad terram": the acquisition and reception of the Elgin marbles (1977); M. Pavan, 'A. Canova e la discussione sugli Elgin Marbles', in Riv. Ist. N. Archeol. & Stor. A., 21-22 (1974-5), p.219-344; S.A. Larrabee, English bards and Grecian marbles (1943); T.L. Donaldson, 'Report of the Committee appointed to examine the Elgin Marbles', in Transactions of the Royal Institute of British Architects, 1st series 5:2 (1837-42), p.100-08; Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons, Report from the Select Committee of the House of Commons on the Earl of Elgin's collection of sculptured marbles etc. (1816) [incl. testimonies of Nollekens, Flaxman, Westmacott, Lawrence, R.P. Knight, B. West PRA]; B.R. Haydon, The judgement of connoisseurs upon works of art compared with that of professional men, in reference more particularly to the Elgin marbles (1816); Memorandum on the subject of the Earl of Elgin's pursuits in Greece (1810) [incl. letter of B. West]; G. Cumberland [Letter], in Monthly magazine (1808 July 1), p.519-20.
Binding Note20th-century half blue morocco, blue cloth-covered boards; green morocco spine-label lettered ' Lawrence Elgin Marbles', spine lettered 'R.A.'
Contributors Davison, Thomas, 1766 - 1831, printer
Lawrence, Richard, fl. 1792 - 1818, draughtsman, engraver, publisher
Phidias, fl. ca. 465-425 B.C., source artist
Porter, John, fl. 1809 - 1826, bookseller
Nicol, George, 1740? - 1828, bookseller
Nicol, William, fl. 1800after 1855, bookseller
Richardson, John, fl. 1797 - 1839, bookseller
George IV, King of Great Britain, 1762 - 1830, dedicatee
MARC Record view