Exhibition / 10 Mar 2022 - 8 May 2022
'How can I by description give you any idea of the great pleasure I enjoyed in the sight of these ancient buildings of Athens!'
– Robert Smirke
In 1803 Robert Smirke (1780–1867), a young British architect, visited Athens to study ancient buildings – including the Parthenon – as part of his professional training.
At the time, Smirke was just one of many contemporary architects inspired by the simple splendour of ancient Greek buildings in Italy, Greece and Turkey. On his return to the UK from his travels, he went on to design numerous buildings in the highly fashionable Greek Revival style, including a new building for the British Museum in 1821.
In this free display, discover more about the rise of Greek Revival architecture through contemporary watercolours and contextual images. This is a rare opportunity to learn more about Smirke and view his original drawing of the Parthenon within the walls of the building he designed.