INWOOD, Henry William. The Erechtheion at Athens. Fragments of Athenian Architecture and a few Remains in Attica Megara and Epirus ..., London, W. Nicol for J. Carpenter & Son, ..., MDCCCXXVII [=1827]. .
Henry William Inwood (1794-1843) was a British architect, archaeologist and author. He was the eldest son of architect William Inwood, who is known for having designed several churches in London. Henry W. Inwood travelled to Italy and Greece during 1818-1819. He worked with his father to design St. Pancras New Church, one of the most popular neoclassical buildings in London. To this day, the church impresses visitors and attendants with its portico of clay Caryatids, modelle after the Erechtheion of Athens, as well as its bell tower, which imitates the Choregic Monument of Lysicrates in Plaka. Henry W. Inwood was in Athens, collecting plaster moulds of architectural elementes from various monuments, when the news reached him that his and his father’s designs had won the contest for the construction of St. Pancras Church. Inwood also contributed so that the sculptures which Lord Elgin extracted from the Acropolis could be safely transported to England.
He published the present impressive edition in 1824 and his pamphlet titled “Of the Resources of Design in the Architecture of Greece, Egypt, and other Countries, obtained by the Studies of the Architects of those Countries from Nature” in 1834. He died on a journey to Spain, in a shipwreck with no survivors.
In the introduction to this treatise the author emphasizes his wish to highlight the importance of the splendid temple of Erechtheus. He believes that Stuart and Revett’s editions did not do the temple full justice and adds that an endeavour to piece together the fragments of the monuments would be very worthwhile. In the first chapter Inwood briefly reviews the civilizations of Euphrates and Palestine, and points out the elements of these cultures that found their way into the Greek world. He bases himself on Pausanias, Herodotus, Pliny, Diodorus Siculus, and Strabo, and tries to trace the historical elements present in the Greek myths. In the next chapter, titled “Homer”, Inwood describes Tiryns, Orhomenos and Mycenae, and at the same time comments on subjects such as chariots, ships, funerary customs, mansions, sanctuaries and banquets in the Homeric era. He also makes observations on the information passed on by Hesiod or Herodotus on ancient temples, sanctuaries and cities of the historic era. The work is completed by the chapter on the Erechtheion, in which Inwood presents the monument in full detail. He explains its mythological and historical past, with the information provided by Pausanias, Vitruvius, Diodorus, Herodotus, Plato, Euripides, Plutarch and others, as well as describing its architecture and sculptures. The plates of the edition are accompanied by explanatory texts. Inwood’s book is an invaluable testimony of the state of the Erechtheion, the second most important monument in the Acropolis, in 1819.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou