Cockerell and the "Grand Tour"

From the 17th century onward, but especially in the 18th century, young scholars undertook journeys, often lasting several years, in order to deepen their linguistic, political, scientific, and of course cultural knowledge. Italy, and above all Rome, were the preferred destinations of the "Grand Tour." Until the middle of the 18th century, it was rather rare for such travelers to venture into southern Italy or even to Greece. Following the travels of the English painter and architect James Stuart (1713-1788) and his compatriot the architect Nicholas Revett (1720-1804) between 1751 and 1754, as well as those, in 1754 and 1755, of the French architect Julien-Davis Le Roy (1724-1803), who went to Athens and Delphi among other places, southern Europe began to be visited more frequently.

With the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1814), the peregrinatio academica experienced a certain decline, for it became dangerous to travel in France or Italy, especially for the British. On the other hand, since Great Britain had good relations with the Ottoman Empire, Greece, situated at the gates of the Orient, attracted more travelers.

Charles Robert Cockerell

The young English architect Charles Robert Cockerell (1788-1863) journeyed in Europe and in the Levant from 1810 to 1817. In Athens, he met many architects and scholars such as Baron Carl Haller von Hallerstein (1774-1817), the architect of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, and the Baltic Baron Otto Magnus von Stackelberg (1786-1837), with whom Cockerell discovered the temple of Aegina in 1811 and the reliefs of the temple of Apollo Epikouros at Bassai the following year. All these dilettanti were engaged in correspondence with an officer from Neuchâtel, Charles-Philippe de Bosset, who governed the island of Kephallonia from 1809 to 1814 on behalf of the English.

A Journey in Euboea

In 1814, Cockerell undertook a new archaeological expedition, in conjunction with his compatriots the architect Thomas Allason (1790-1852) and the antiquarian John Spencer Stanhope (1787-1873), whom the French imprisoned in Spain at the beginning of his journey in 1810, the German painter Jakob Linckh (1787-1842), and James Perchard Tupper (active between 1797 and 1821).

After passing through Marathon, Tanagra, Aulis, and Chalkis, the group arrived in Eretria on July 23. For a day, they studied the ancient city. Allason and Cockerell drew up a map of the city, on which they marked a stadium that has still not been discovered; Linckh and Tupper executed a plan of the Theater, while Stanhope set off on an unsuccessful search for a temple.

The next day, the travelers were back in Chalkis: Allason and Stanhope envisaged a trip to Karystos, in southern Euboea, but not having received the necessary authorization, they went on towards Thebes, whereas Cockerell and his friends returned to Athens.

In 1817, before returning to England, Cockerell sojourned in Rome, where he met the French painter Jean-Auguste- Dominique Ingres (1780-1867), who drew portraits of him and his former traveling companions, Linckh and Stackelberg.

by Ferdinand Pajor


Original drawing made by C. R. Cockerell on his journey to Eretria (July 1814). British Museum

Portait of Cockerell by Ingres

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