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Reviewed by:
  • James “Athenian” Stuart: The Rediscovery of Antiquity
  • Richard Jenkyns (bio)
Susan Weber Soros, ed., James “Athenian” Stuart: The Rediscovery of Antiquity (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007), 688 pp.

Did James Stuart change the world? Perhaps not quite, because if he had not published accurate measured drawings of the masterpieces of Greek architecture, someone else would have soon done so. Still, The Antiquities of Athens was an epochal moment in the history of taste, and Stuart himself was the first man to build in the Greek Revival style. His own work, as architect, decorator, and designer (of medals, monuments, furniture), is not as well known as it should be. His buildings are not many and some are difficult to find or visit; much of his work was done in collaboration with others. Soros and her collaborators explore every aspect of Stuart’s own production and its social and cultural context. Her book provides the reader with the rare pleasure of seeing an artist of considerable distinction brought out of obscurity, and at the same time it takes us into the texture of eighteenth-century visual culture. Superbly illustrated and presented, this volume is the revelation of an underappreciated talent.

Richard Jenkyns

Richard Jenkyns, professor of the classical tradition at Oxford University and a fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, is author of The Victorians and Ancient Greece, Dignity and Decadence, Virgil’s Experience, and A Fine Brush on Ivory: An Appreciation of Jane Austen.



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