Athens was Sir Charles' hoped-for goal, quarantine regulations and war conditions permitting. The Moncks stayed there for about 6 months. Sir Charles describes visiting all the main sites, frequently with antiquarian acquaintances William Gell and Edward Dodwell, quite often with his wife as well. Two months after giving birth, she is described as exploring the Parthenon temple pediment! The couple enjoyed drawing, especially the view from Mouseion hill. The then so-called Theseion (Temple of Hephaestus), in the Athenian Agora, was the building Monck most admired; he would base the main front of Belsay Hall on its dimensions. He was impressed by the Acropolis buildings, but viewed them with a more critical eye, and implies censure of Lord Elgin's "depradations"! He met Elgin's artist Lusieri in Athens; in her own later journal Lady Monck recounts their visit to see the exhibited Elgin Marbles in London in 1811: "I was much delighted with the Marbles tho' they are very much defaced — he [Elgin] has a good many of the metopes of the Parthenon and some Casts of those he could not have."


Click on the drawings of the artefacts to find out more











“beginning to descend the plain of Athens
opened itself upon our view — first we saw..."
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“beginning to descend the plain of Athens opened itself upon our view — first we saw the plain with part of the large wood of Olives which extends six miles along the Cephissus, next the Mouseion [Hill of the Muses] with the ruin of the monument of Philopappus upon it came in sight. Then the Acropolis, with mounts Anchesmos [Lykavettos], Hymettos & Parnes, the Piraeus, Phalerium, Aegina all in view — this is a most charming view, and improved every step as we descended - soon you enter the wood of olives […] Coming out of the wood, Athens again is seen much more beautiful than before. Now you distinguish the ruins of the Parthenon on the Akropolis, and the Theseion below. The road leads us pretty closely past the Theseion which stands on a small knowl just within the city wall, beautiful in the extreme — not a column gone — the roof a little damaged.”


Click below to listen to this diary entry
of the 2nd of May, 1805













       
                                                                     
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   Copper Copy of Parthenon Frieze
   Nineteenth century AD
   [Shefton Collection gift of Mr John Stephenson]

In the nineteenth century small scale copies of the Parthenon frieze were popular with private collectors including King George IV. Many were based on the work of the sculptor John Henning who produced a series of moulds between 1816 and 1822. The Moncks were critical of Elgin’s removal of the Parthenon sculptures, although they admired them when they saw them in London.
                                            
                     




“Warm with clouds. Ice plant wild
about the crags of the acropolis.
Great variety of aromatic ... ”
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“Warm with clouds. Ice plant wild about the crags of the acropolis. Great variety of aromatic low fructescent plants on the rocky knolls towards Hymettus. Many entirely new to us. Went to admire the beautiful columns of Jupiter Olympius. At midday a flock of goats take shade amongst them and heighten the appearance much.


Click below to listen to this diary entry
of the 11th of May, 1805





             



“Walked out with M. Lusieri and Gell
to see the acropolis — the Propyleia is now
so mutilated and covered up with buildings... ”
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Walked out with M. Lusieri and Gell to see the acropolis — the Propyleia is now so mutilated and covered up with buildings that its plan can scarcely be distinguished. The Parthenon is much lessened by Lord Elgin’s depradations — and the temple/ of Pandrosus [Caryatid porch of Erechtheion] must have been much more beautiful when the Caryattis which he has taken away was standing. The ruins altogether far exceeded my expectations in beauty and magnificence.”


Click below to listen to this diary entry
of the 3rd of May, 1805









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Athenian Red-Figure Kalathos
c.440 BC
[Shefton Collection 853]