Atheniensia, or remarks on the topography and buildings of Athens.
London, John Murray 1816.
4to. viii + (4) + 218pp, double-page engraved map, double-page engraved reconstruction drawing of the Erechtheum (affected by spotting and offsetting as often). Signature b (eight pages of prelims) misbound between p 16 and p.17. Contemporary full panelled diced calf, spine neatly repaired at joints. Nineteenth century armorial bookplate of Earl of Rosebery. Ink presentation inscription dated 1954 on preliminary blank leaf.
First and only edition. The architect William Wilkins (1778-1839), who had been in Athens as a young man at the time when the Elgin Marbles were being removed from the Parthenon, had become by 1816 the leading English practitioner in the Greek Revival style, relying on his considerable scholarly knowledge of the architecture of ancient Greece. In the present book, based on notes taken by him in Athens in 1802, he describes and explains the principal surviving buildings of the ancient city, with particular reference to the Parthenon and the Erechtheum; he takes an adverse view of the artistic merits of the Elgin Marbles, but on more purely architectural matters his remarks are valuable, especially on the Erechtheum. Although his book is well held in older institutional libraries, copies are not particularly easy to find on the market today and the book is certainly less familiar than Wilkins’s edition of the Civil Architecture of Vitruvius. BAL Cat 3654.