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WILLIAM PURSER (1785-1856)
  • WILLIAM PURSER (1785-1856)


    Watercolour with bodycolour

    60 x 85 cm



    This impressive large-scale view of Athen’s iconic Acropolis can be compared to another, showing a more panoramic view of the Parthenon, Acropolis and the outskirts of the city of Athens as well, now in the Benaki Museum of Greek Civilisation, Athens (and dated to 1820). Further watercolours by Purser can be found in the collections of the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.


    The diminutive, almost naive figures attired in vibrantly coloured garments are absolutely typical of Purser’s vivid depictions of Greece and Asia Minor, painted at some point in the 1820s or 1830s. We know that he accompanied the architects George Ledwell Taylor and John Sanders as their draughtsman in Greece during the 1820s, but the reason for the artist’s lengthy sojourn in Turkey in the region remains a mystery. 



    William Purser was an artist and architect who studied at the Royal Academy Schools. Between 1805-34, he exhibited his architectural subjects and landscapes at the Royal Academy, as well as exhibiting at the Society of British Artists. From 1817-1820 he travelled around Italy and Greece with George Ledwell Taylor and the architect John Sanders, acting as draughtsman for their tour; and during the 1820s and 1830s he also travelled in the Near East, drawing numerous views of Istanbul (then Constantinople) in particular, and to India later on in his career.

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