Wood - Palmyra & Baalbek

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This book describes Roman Imperial monuments in Palmyra in present-day Syria. It was a result of Robert Wood's 1750-53 trip to Asia Minor with James Dawkins and the Piedmontese architect/draftsman Giovanni Battista Borra. Wood acknowledged that this book was motivated both by his curiosity and that of the public. Following the scientific approach adopted by Antoine Desgodets in the 1680s, Wood's work was produced with a concern for excavating and measuring. Despite this, the published work has numerous errors. Wood wrote,

In the following works we give not only the measures of the architecture, but also the views of the ruins from which they are taken … For as the first gives an idea of the building, when it was entire, so the last shows its present state of decay, and (which is most important) what authority there is for our measures.'

Wood goes on to characterise Palmyra as having ‘a greater sameness … than we observed at Rome, Athens and other great cities.' The engravings contained in this book became valuable sources for the emerging neoclassicism of the late 18th century and cemented the notion of ‘Palmyra' in the Western mind.
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Baalbek image

This book documents the Roman monuments of Baalbek in present-day Lebanon. It was a result of Robert Wood and James Dawkins' 1750-53 trip to Asia Minor. Wood was a member of the Society of the Dilettanti These volumes exhibited mark the beginning of the rise of the British as explorers of antiquity. In his commentary Wood described the ruins in the Bekka Valley as ‘the remains of the boldest plan we ever saw attempted in architecture.' While he understood the sites to be of Roman origin, Wood acknowledged a local tradition that linked the buildings back to Solomon. The engravings were prepared by G.B. Borra in England after drawings that he made on site. The work proved to be a valuable source for the architects of the classical revival.
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Detail. Wood, Robert.The ruins of Balbec, otherwise Heliopolis in Coelosyria. 1757

Detail. Wood, Robert.
The ruins of Balbec, otherwise Heliopolis in Coelosyria. 1757.
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