This information is ©
The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow 2018
"JAMES DAWKINS AND ROBERT WOOD ESQ FIRST DISCOVERING SIGHT OF PALMYRA" 1773
etching and engraving
CRE HALL, John; (English; 1739-1797) AFTER HAMILTON, Gavin; (Scottish; 1723-1798)
printed in black
50.5 x 55.9
'Painted by G. Hamilton 1758. Engraved by John Hall, 1773. From an Original Picture in the Possession of Henry Dawkins Esqr.'
From the founder, William Hunter's print collection. Dawkins and Wood was one of the first of Hamilton's epic classical compositions, and the only one based on an event from modern times. The painting (National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh) was commissioned in 1758 by Henry Dawkins to commemorate his energetic brother, who died in 1757. It records an event on the journey to Greece and the Middle East that Dawkins made with Robert Wood, John Bouverie, and Giovanni Borra. Dawkins, Wood and Borra arrived in Palmyra in 1751.
Hunter's acquisition of a pre-publication proof of Hall's engraving is undocumented, but was perhaps due to Hunter's association with the classical scholar and traveller Robert Wood (1716-1771) to whom the engraving is surely also a memorial. Wood, Hamilton and Hunter all studied at Glasgow University in the 1730s, and Hunter and Wood were in close contact when Wood was under-secretary in Pitt the Elder's government (1756-63). Described by Robert Adam as a man 'whose character is one of the most perfect among the Human Race', Wood travelled extensively in the Mediterranean, and contributed substantially to the archaeology of Greece and the Middle East. He was in Rome in 1755, where his portrait was painted by Allan Ramsay in the pose in which the artist placed Hunter in his slightly later portrait. Hunter owned Wood's publications, The Ruins of Palmyra 1753 (a plate from which was used by Hamilton for the architecture in his painting), and Ruins of Balbec 1757. Wood's posthumous Essay on the original genius and writings of Homer, 1775, is a landmark of Homeric criticism. The impact of Wood's friendship can be seen in Hunter's posthumously-published Introductory Anatomical Lectures (1784) in which there is a four-paragraph digression on astronomy, made up of Wood's anecdotes.
REPRODUCTIVE PRINT : PALMYRA : HOMER SCHOLAR : ANCIENT NEAR EAST : ARCHAEOLOGY : HUNTER 2007 :