C.R. Cockerell

In visiting Bassae and other classical sites in the Peloponnese, I can’t help but wonder how the early neoclassicists travelled so far and wide in the first part of the nineteenth century, not just Elgin, but a whole generation of Philhellenes.   Cockerell had received a good classical education at Westminster, worked as an assistant to Robert Smirke on the rebuilding of the Covent Garden Theatre and then embarked on the Grand Tour, setting off for Troy in April 1810.   In 1811, he helped with the excavation of the Temple of Aphaia in Aegina.   He visited the Temple of Apollo Epikourios in Bassae in August 1811 and then travelled to Egypt with Frederick North, the fifth Earl of Guilford, who had been Governor of Ceylon (where he built a Doric bungalow) and was to establish the Ionian Academy on Corfu.   Cockerell exhibited drawings of the Temple of Bassae at the Royal Academy on his return to London in 1817, but formal publication of them in a book did not happen till 1860.

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