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Wood Diaries

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1500 Wood
Held at: Institute of Classical Studies
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Full title: Wood Diaries
Date(s): 1742-1751
Level of description: Collection (Fonds)
Extent: 27 volumes
Name of creator(s): Wood | Robert | c 1717-1771 | traveller, archaeologist and politician
Dawkins | James | 1722-1757 | archaeologist
Bouverie | John | c 1722-1750 | archaeologist
Borra | Giovanni Battista | 1712-1786 | artist


Administrative/Biographical history:

Robert Wood: born Riverstown Castle, Co. Meath, Ireland, c 1717; travelled extensively in Europe and the Middle East, 1738-1755; under-secretary to William Pitt, 1756; elected MP, 1761; elected member of the Society of Dilettanti, 1763; died 1771. Publications: The Ruins of Palmyra, London, 1753 and The Ruins of Baalbek, 1757.
James Dawkins: born Jamaica, eldest son of Henry Dawkins of Laverstoke, Hampshire; educated at St John's College, Oxford; succeeded to his father's estates, 1744; travelled extensively in Europe and the Middle East, 1742-1751; MP, 1754; died Jamaica, 1757.
John Bouverie: born c 1722, son of Sir Christopher Des Bouveries of London; educated at New College, Oxford; made 3 visits to Italy between 1741 and 1751, and assembed a considerable collection of prints, drawings, engravings, cameos and medals; died at Guzel Hissar, Turkey, 1750, and buried at Smyrna.
Giovanni Battista Borra (1712-1786) was an artist, architect, landscape designer and draughtsman.


Scope and content/abstract:

Diaries and sketch books of Robert Wood, James Dawkins, John Bouverie and Giovanni Battista Borra of a tour of the Levant, 1750-1751, comprising:
Transcript (8 volumes) of the diaries of the archaeologist, James Dawkins, 5 May 1750-8 June 1751, describing the tour from Naples, Italy to Porto Leone, via Smyrna [Izmir], Sardis, Thyatira [Akhisar], Pergamum [Bergama], Sinus Eleaticus, Constantinople [Istanbul], Boursa, Cyzicus [Belkis], Troy, Tenedos, Phocaea [Foça], Teos [Sigacik], Ephesus, Magnesia ad Meander, Laodicea, Hierapolis [Pamukkale], Antioch, Mytilene [Mitilíni], Lesbos, Scio [Chíos, Nísos], Neomene, Samos, Mylassa, Halicarnassus [Bodrum], Cos [Kos], Cnidus Nova, Rhodes [Ródhos], Alexandria [Al-Iskandariyah], Cairo, The Pyramids, Acre [`Akko], Mount Carmel [Har Hakarmel], Nazareth, Capernaum [Kefar Nahum], Tiberias [Teverya], Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Rama, Sidon [Sayda], Beirut, Damascus, Baalbek [Ba`labakk], Tripoli, Delos [Dhílos], Athens, Marathon, Thermopylae, Chalcis [Khalkís], Thebes, Delphi [Dhelfoi] and Megara.
Diary (1 volume) of John Bouverie, 25 May-8 June 1750, 25 July-3 Aug 1750, and 7 Sep 1750, covering the tour from Smyrna to Meander, as described above.
Papers of Robert Wood, comprising diaries (3 volumes), 25 May-19 Aug, 22 Sep - 8 Oct 1750, 16 May-1 June 1751; pocket books (2 volumes), containing copies of inscriptions made during the tour, including Athens, Baalbek, Palmyra, and other sites in Turkey, Greece and Egypt; extracts (made by Wood's daughter) from his tour manuscripts, including some that are not in the collection; manuscript A universal history by Wood, almost certainly pre-dating the tour; notebook, containing extracts from Wood's journals from his 1742-1743 visit to the Levant, itineraries from his 1745 visit to Italy, preparatory plans for the 1750-1751 tour and notes on Homer; notebook conntaining copy of an extended letter from Wood to James Dawkins, [c1755], Remarks on Homer's plan of Troy, in effect an early draft of his Essay on the Original Genius of Homer [see printed books below].
Sketch books of Giovanni Battista Borra, containing ink and pencil sketches made on the tour, mainly of architectural details, but also including landscapes, of Naples and Mount Vesuvius, Palmyra and Damascus.
Printed books: Robert Wood: An Essay on the Original Genius and Writings of Homer, London, H Hughs for T Payne and P Emsley, 1775, including engravings after Borra of ruins near Troy, and a map of Troas; The ruins of Palmyra and Baalbek, London, W Pickering, 1827 and Les ruines de Palmyre, autrement dite Tedmor au desert, Paris, Firmin Didot, 1819; Homer: Operum omnium quae exstant. Tomus prior sive Ilias Grece et Latine.Juxta editionem emendatissimam et accuratissimam Samuelis Clarke Amsterdam, J Wetstenium, 1743 [Wood's interleaved copy, containing notes and transcripts of inscriptions]; l'Abbe Barthelemy Reflexions sur l'alphabet et sur la langue dont on se servot autrefois a Palmyre, Paris, 1754; Giacomo Barozzi [Il Vignola] Regola delli cinque ordini d'architecttura, Rome, [1620].

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
Mainly English, some Latin and Greek.

System of arrangement:

As described in Scope and Content.

Conditions governing access:

By appointment only. Researchers wishing to consult the collection or seeking further information should first contact the Librarian.

Conditions governing reproduction:

A copying service is available, at the discretion of the Librarian, and subject to the condition of the originals.

Finding aids:

List, copy deposited in the National Register of Archives (NRA 35452).

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Presented by the descendants of Robert Wood to the Library of the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies, 1926.

Allied Materials

Related material:

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

C A Hutton The Travels of 'Palmyra' Wood in 1750-51 in 'Journal of Hellenic Studies', 47 (1927) pp.102-128; T J B Spencer Robert Wood and the problem of Troy in the eighteenth century, 'Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 20 (1957), pp.75-105; J A Butterworth The Wood Collection 'Journal of Hellenic Studies', 106 (1986) pp.197-200 and Robert Wood and Troy: a comparative Failure 'Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies', 32 (1985), pp.147-154.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Alan Kucia as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Apr 2002

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