Society of Dilettanti (London)
The unedited Antiquities of Attica; comprising the architectural remains of Eleusis, Rhamnus, Sunium, and Thoricus.
London, Printed by W. Bulmer and Co., published by Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown; and John Murray, 1817
folio (530 × 360 mm), (34) ff. letterpress, unsigned, paginated (8) (half-title; title; list of members dated 1 March 1817; Contents) 1–59 (1); plus seventy-eight etched and engraved plates (numbered i: 1–8, ii: 1–16, iii: 1–8, iv: 1–7, v: 1–8, vi: 1–13, vii: 1–5, viii: 1–10, ix: 1–3). Plate i: 3 is misnumbered 5, as usual.
Occasional spotting, otherwise in excellent state of preservation.
bound in russia leather, decorated in gilt.
Fine copy of the first edition. This work was the result of the second Ionian expedition sent by the Society of the Dilettanti to the Levant, undertaken between November 1811 and the summer of 1813. Its members included William Gell, Francis Bedford, and John Gandy. Their greatest discovery was the Temples of Ceres (now called Demeter) and other buildings on the site of the famous Eleusinian mysteries, and Eleusis is the subject of the first five chapters. On their return from Asia Minor, the travellers spent time excavating and measuring at Rhamnous, Sunium, and Thorikos, a conscious effort to supplement the Antiquities of Athens (1762–1794) by extending its geographical coverage.
Even before their return, the Society began to place with the engravers John Roffe, Cosmo Armstrong, and Samuel Porter, some of the 274 architectural drawings and 209 views and maps made during the expedition.1 The Society had planned to publish the book themselves, using William Bulmer to print the text and Edward Cox the plates, projecting an edition of three hundred copies (including 100 on india paper). In the end, it was published in April 1817 by Longman and John Murray in an edition of 200 copies, all printed on the same paper, and uniformly priced 10 guineas.2
references Leopoldo Cicognara, Catalogo ragionato dei libri d’arte e d’antichità posseduti dal Conte Cicognara (Pisa 1821), ii, p.26 no. 2646 (‘Quest’ opera prodotta con tutto il lusso, e l’eleganza, unita alla critica, è uno de’più bel volumi che abbiansi di Greche Antichità); Leonora Navari, Greece and the Levant: the catalogue of the Henry Myron Blackmer collection of books and manuscripts (London 1989), p.331 no. 1569; National Gallery of Art, The Mark J. Millard Architectural Collection, volume ii: British Books (New York & Washington, dc 1998), pp.290–297 no. 79; British Architectural Library, Early printed books: 1478–1840 (London & Munich 2001), iv, p.1954 no. 3129; Ulrike Steiner, Die Anfänge der Archäologie in Folio und Oktav: fremdsprachige Antikenpublikationen und Reiseberichte in deutschen Ausgaben, catalogue accompanying the exhibition ‘Aufklärung – Antike in Buch und Bild’, Anhaltische Gemäldegalerie, Dessau (Ruhpolding 2005), pp.47–48 no. 8
1. A group of nine drawings for the book (six for plates in chapter ii Eleusis Propylaea, two for plates in chapter iii Eleusis inner vestibules, and one for a plate in chapter vi Rhamnus: Temple of Nemesis) is in the Getty Research Institute, 840199*. The main body of drawings is said to have perished in a fire; see F.W. Hasluck, ‘Topographical Drawings in the British Museum Illustrating Classical Sites and Remains in Greece and Turkey’ in The Annual of the British School at Athens 18 (1911/1912), p.271 note 6.
2. A ‘thick’ paper copy is reported by Leonora Navari, Greek Civilization through the eyes of travellers and scholars, from the Collection of Dimitris Contominas (Athens 2004), no. 680.