6 results

William Gell Personal Papers

The personal papers of Sir William Gell (1777-1836) held by the British School at Athens consist of six notebooks most likely produced between 1801 and 1810 while he was travelling with Edward Dodwell and in Greece and Asia Minor. These notebooks were acquired in 1923 by Thomas Ashby, Director of the British School at Rome, from a dealer in Naples, the same source as the Craven sketchbook (see Keppel Craven Personal Papers). Ashby offered the Gell notebooks pertaining to Greece to the BSA via its then Director, Arthur M. Woodward, in 1924. They were accessioned into the Library at that time and later moved to the BSA Archive when it was officially established.

Soon after their acquisition, the Gell notebooks were described by Woodward in two articles in the Annual of the British School at Athens (‘Some Note-Books of William Gell’ 1925-26 ABSA 27: 67-80 and 1926-27 ABSA 28: 107-127). The six notebooks include two sketchbooks: one dedicated to marble architectural elements, particularly acroteria, and the other miscellaneous sketches. The remaining notebooks contain itineraries, compass-bearings (‘angles’), transcriptions of inscriptions and occasional sketches. Of these, one contains information later used in Gell's 1819 publication, Itinerary of Greece, another describes Gell’s journey to Smyrna and other parts of Asia Minor. In 2008 the Gell notebooks were displayed in the exhibition, ‘Grecian Taste and Roman Spirit: The Society of Dilettanti’, at the Getty Villa of The J. Paul Getty Museum, who also funded the digitization of all six notebooks.

William Gell Notebook [GELL 4534.b], William Gell Notebook, 1805-1810

This notebook, stamped with an inverted ship's anchor on the cover, contains itineraries along with sketches, texts of inscriptions and compass-bearings for numerous sites in Greece. According to Woodward and Austin (1925), most of the information was recast in Gell's 1819 publication, Itinerary of Greece.

William Gell Notebook [GELL 4534.a], William Gell Notebook, 1805-1810

This notebook cover is stamped with the word ‘Angles’ referring to compass-bearings employed as a method of navigation using angles in relation to North. The notebook contains lists of compass-bearings and relational location information of places on the Greek mainland (Peloponnese, Central Greece, Attica) and the Ionian Islands. A few locational maps are sketched at some entries.

William Gell Notebook [GELL 4534.f], William Gell Notebook, 1805-1810

This notebook begins with miscellaneous notes about Eleusis including a few inscriptions, and a two-page inked sketch of the landscape of Athens. After this sketch, the notebook contains information on Gell’s itinerary (with numerous compass-bearings) from Athens to Smyrna, Chios, Samos, Bodrum, Didyma, Cnidus and Rhodes. Woodward (1926) dates this voyage from April to September 1812, ending when Gell landed at Rhodes. Woodward also indicated that some of the information was later published in various volumes of Antiquities of lonia published by the Society of Dilettanti. Interspersed with the descriptions are architectural drawings, inscriptions and plans.

William Gell Notebook [GELL 4534.c], William Gell Notebook, 1805-1810

This is a sketchbook with drawings of various places and people (including caricatures and some self-portraits). Sketches of places in Greece include the Acropolis of Athens, 'Temple of Jupiter Penhellenicus' (Temple of Aphaia) on Aegina, a plan of Mycenae, several landscape views of 'Scio' the capital of Arcadia and a view of Delos from the island Rhenea.

William Gell Notebook [GELL 4534.d], William Gell Notebook, 1805-1810

The first half of this travel book is filled with compass-bearings and distance data on places in relation to Patras, Missolonghi, and the islands of Oxeia and Ithaca. Mixed in with this locational information are drawings of people, maps and coastlines, and Greek inscriptions. The second half of the book is blank.

William Gell Notebook [GELL 4534.e], William Gell Notebook, 1805-1810

Written on the flyleaf of the notebook is 'Book of Marble, Acroteria &c'. The notebook is dedicated to the study of architectural marbles, primarily acroteria, and how they are decorated. However, it also includes drawings of other objects, landscape views of Athens and a few inscriptions. Most of the drawings have been made on different papers and then glued to the notebook pages. Near the end of the notebook is a list of 'Angles' or compass-bearings and relational location information on sites in Greece.