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Title: An Apology for the Colouring of the Greek Court in the Crystal Palace
Author: Jones, Owen
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Apology for the Colouring of the Greek Court in the Crystal Palace" ***

                               AN APOLOGY
                                FOR THE
                      COLOURING OF THE GREEK COURT
                                 IN THE
                            CRYSTAL PALACE.


                              OWEN JONES.


                        CRYSTAL PALACE LIBRARY;

                          BRADBURY AND EVANS,

                               AN APOLOGY

                                FOR THE

                     COLOURING OF THE GREEK COURT.

                             BY OWEN JONES.

                             WITH ARGUMENTS

                  BY G. H. LEWES AND W. WATKISS LLOYD,

                          BRITISH ARCHITECTS,



                          BY PROFESSOR SEMPER.

                               AN APOLOGY
                                FOR THE
                     COLOURING OF THE GREEK COURT.

The coloured or colourless state of the monuments of the Greeks, and
more particularly of their monumental sculpture, has long been a subject
of discussion in the world of art; a discussion which, although it may
have been carried on with too much faith on the one side, has certainly
been accompanied, on the other, with too much prejudice.

At a very early stage in the arrangements for forming in the Crystal
Palace a series of reproductions of architectural monuments, I felt that
to colour a Greek monument would be one of the most interesting problems
I could undertake; not indeed in the hope that I might be able
completely to solve it, but that I might, at least, by the experiment
remove the prejudices of many.

I felt persuaded that when we had a Greek monument placed side by side
with reproductions of other coloured monuments, the authorities for
which were indisputable, people would be more willing to recognise the
necessity for believing that the monuments of Greece were no exceptions
to those of civilisations which preceded or followed them, but that they
also like the rest were coloured in every part, and covered with a most
elaborate system of ornamentation.

So early as the publication of the “Antiquities of Athens,” by Stuart
and Revett, the traces of ornaments on the mouldings of the Greek
temples were known and published by them, some of the painted ornaments,
however, which they found, being engraved in their work as if in relief;
but artists were for long after unwilling to accept these fragments as
evidence that an entire system of ornamentation prevailed on the Greek
buildings. The late Jules Goury and Professor Semper, from whom will be
found a paper on Polychromy in the Appendix, were amongst the earliest
to direct attention to this subject; but the most diligent labourer in
the field is M. Hittorff, of Paris, who has devoted many years to the
production of a magnificent work, in which will be found all the facts
that are known, and a history of the long discussion which this subject
has provoked.

Mr. Penrose also, in his work on the “Principles of Athenian
Architecture,” has recorded all that he himself saw, but is reluctant to
believe that any ornaments existed where traces of ornament can no
longer be found. He feels that there is “some slight ground of evidence
that a peculiar yellow tinge upon some parts of the columns, especially
of the west front of the Parthenon, is not simply the yellow said to
result from the oxidation of iron contained in Pentelic marble, but has
been applied externally as a tint, though perhaps so delicately as
merely to reduce the high light of the marble without obscuring its
crystalline character.”

He considers it “unreasonable to suppose that the ancients entirely
concealed, or even materially altered in appearance, the general surface
of the white marble, which they made a great point of obtaining whenever
possible; but that no one who has witnessed the painfully dazzling
effect of fresh Pentelic marble under the Athenian sun will deny the
artistic value of toning down the almost pure white of its polished
surface, and the more so when considerable portions of the architecture
were painted in the most positive colours. We need not suppose,” he says
further, “this tone to have produced more than the difference between
fresh white marble and ivory.”

An examination of the facts recorded by these various authorities will
convince any one that the question is now narrowed to one of degree

“To _what extent_ were white marble temples painted and ornamented?”

I would maintain that they were _entirely_ so; that neither the colour
of the marble nor even its surface was preserved; and that, preparatory
to the ornamenting and colouring of the surface, the whole was covered
with a thin coating of stucco, something in the nature of a gilder’s
ground, to stop the absorption of the colours by the marble.

The Egyptians covered their buildings and statues in a similar way, no
matter what the material; the Greek temples, which were built of
lime-stone, were so undoubtedly; the ancient Greek terra-cottas almost
without exception have traces of this ground.

To the belief that the Greeks employed it also on their marble temples,
there is only one stumbling-block—the artificial value which white
marble has in our eyes.

The Athenians built with marble because they found it almost beneath
their feet, and also from the same cause which led the Egyptians to
employ granite, which was afterwards painted—viz., because it was the
most enduring, and capable of receiving a higher finish of workmanship.
With these high thoughts of perfection and durability, they not only
built their temples of Pentelic marble, but paved their carriage-way to
them with the same material.

The ruin of the Parthenon, as seen at this day on the Acropolis, with
the rich tones which the sun of centuries has developed upon it, is a
very different thing from a bran-new white marble Parthenon, with many
of its enrichments _proved_ to have been picked out in the strongest
colours. Such a building would have been horrible to behold under any
sun, much more under that of Athens.

Could we set aside the whole of the evidence to the contrary; could we
forget the paintings recorded on its cella walls—its interior filled
with upwards of six hundred statues, many of them of colossal
dimensions, enriched with painting, ivory, gold, and precious stones,
which would demand a far different treatment of the building which
contained them; could we forget that when a marble statue left the hand
of the first of sculptors, it passed into the hands of an equally
celebrated encaustic painter to receive its ultimate finish;[1] could we
forget the varieties of material which they combined, certainly
harmoniously, in the statues of their gods—the varieties of colour which
they gave to a material, by us considered to be so uniform as bronze, in
which to heighten the expression they wished to obtain; (by alloys of
iron, silver, and gold, used on the various portions of a figure, the
greatest known sculptors produced the paleness of death,—the blush of
shame,—the smile on the mouth,—the fire of the eye, and the healthy
redness of the cheek;)[2] the ornaments of metal with which many of the
marble statues were covered—earrings, bracelets, armlets, sandals, bands
round the hair, crowns, diadems of pearls, precious stones, eyes of
silver, glass, and precious stones; the metal crown of the Laocoon, the
metal casque of the statue of Mars, the metal drapery of the Antinous,
the earrings of the Venus de’ Medici, or her golden hair;—could we set
aside the evidence either of that which is recorded, or of that which
may still be seen, we should yet have felt that it must have been so,
from the knowledge we have of the practice of those civilisations which
preceded and followed that of the Greeks. How can one believe that at
one particular period in the practice of the Arts, the artistic eye was
so entirely changed that it became suddenly enamoured of white marble?
Such an idea belongs only to an age like that through which we have just
passed—an age equally devoid of the capacity to appreciate, and of the
power to execute, works of art—when refuge is taken in whitewashing.

Footnote 1:

  See page 31.

Footnote 2:

  See Quatremère de Quincey.

Under this influence, however, we have been born and bred, and it
requires time to shake off the trammels which such early education

There is another theory which it is necessary to notice, viz., that the
marble was not painted, but stained in some way or other, so as still to
retain the transparency of the marble. As this has never been tried, and
can only be tried on marble, I dare not say that it would not produce an
agreeable result. I am not able, however, to conceive it, and feel
certain that it could not fulfil the required conditions of monumental
sculpture, though presenting more chance of success with isolated works.

As far as regards monumental sculpture, the evidence of Mr. Bracebridge,
which was produced before the committee of the Institute,[3] would
appear to settle the point. The fragments dug up at Athens in the winter
of 1835–36, are stated by him to have been in perfect preservation, and
“_painted with the brightest red, blue, and yellow, or rather,
vermilion, ultramarine, and straw colour, which last may have faded in
the earth_.” He further states, that “_the colours were laid on in thick

Footnote 3:

  See page 40.

                        COLOURING OF THE COURT.

I may state at the outset that I have been restrained in this attempt at
rendering the effect of the coloured architecture of the Greeks—that I
have set bounds to my imagination. I most fully believe that the Greek
monuments were coloured and ornamented on a much higher key than I have
ventured to attempt, whilst the public eye requires preparation for
receiving what there are as yet so few facts to substantiate.

The only portions of the colouring of this court for which there is
absolute authority, are the leaves on the moulding A, and the
enrichments on the pilaster-caps, D, which are thus published by Mr.
Penrose, in his work. Traces exist of the enrichment B, and the fret on
the architrave band, C, of a stain indicating the form of the ornament,
but without traces of colour.


The colouring of the moulding A, which is known, is alone sufficient for
our purpose. It establishes two broad principles for our guidance;
first, that of the alternation of colour, second, that the colours were
so employed as best to define the moulding they enriched.

Specks of blue and red (or, as observed by others, green and red) have
been found in several monuments on this moulding, which from its form is
more likely to have retained colour than any other. The absolute value
of these colours is of course not known; hence the liberty of believing
that they were only stains or tints, not positive strong colours. A
glance at the experiment is sufficient to upset this theory at once; the
ornament, with anything short of the strength of colour we have
employed, would have been invisible even at the height we see it, much
more so at the height the original was placed.

As the bed-mould B represents, by the lines of the stain, similar
mouldings carved in relief in other monuments, I felt I was safe in
using the colours in such a way as best to represent the object it
imitated. I have therefore placed the gold where, had the ornament been
in relief and gold employed, gold must have been placed to have been
seen to the best advantage, that is, on the convex surfaces. So of the
other colours.

In colouring the fret C I have followed the same principle; if they took
the trouble to paint so minute an ornament at such a height, we may be
quite sure that they took every pains to make it as distinct as
possible, and, therefore, in using blue and red alternately, I have
endeavoured to make the lines of the fret more apparent.

I was led at once to adopt a blue ground for the frieze, occupying, as
it does, the place of the usual frieze of triglyphs and metopes in other
monuments where the blue ground predominated; I felt the Greek eye would
have demanded it here had such an arrangement as that of our frieze
existed on a Greek monument.

The red within the wreaths was necessary, both for general harmony, and
also to prevent the eye passing through the wreaths, which would have
been the case had the blue ground been uninterrupted.

The soffit of the cornice I have coloured red, because I have no doubt
that wherever blue, red, and yellow or gold were used, this must always
have been the place of the red; and I experienced great pleasure, when
in speaking on this subject with M. Hittorff of Paris, he brought forth
a fragment of a soffit from Selinus, which, as he held it in his hand,
showed a surface perfectly white, but removing his hand from it,
discovered a large patch of the strongest red still remaining on the
surface of the preparatory coat of stucco with which the temple at
Selinus was covered.

[Illustration: Known.]

[Illustration: Unknown.]

The boldest step I have taken is in colouring the capitals of the
columns; the abacus E and the echinus F.

The echinus of the Greek column is a moulding so perfect, and so much
refinement was used upon it by the Greeks, that few believe it was ever
intended to be ornamented. It is supposed that much of this refinement
was exercised by the Greeks on this curve in order to prepare it for the
shadow which the angle of the abacus cast upon it, and that all this
would have been lost or disturbed by a painted ornament on the surface.

There are others, however, equally strong in the belief that it was
painted and ornamented, amongst whom M. Hittorff, who, in his work,
gives two illustrations from drawings of Greek columns on vases, one of
which has an ornamental abacus, and the other with the honeysuckle
ornament on the echinus. As all the ornaments on Greek vases are
analogous to those of Greek temples, it is fairly concluded that the
painter of the columns on the vases only represented what he was
accustomed to see on the columns of buildings.

I am not alone in the belief that the echinus was ornamented with the
egg-and-tongue ornament; in fact, the form of the moulding suggests this
in preference to any other. It certainly gives the best form for
resolving the upward running-lines of the flutes.

As from all the examples we have, the fret ornament is found universally
on flat bands, I have adopted it for the surface of the abacus, and have
chosen a fret which, returning within itself, prevents the eye from
running outwards, upwards, or downwards, which is generally the case
with most frets.

The spandrils of the abacus I have supplied with an ornament which I
thought would best carry the eye from the square of the angle into the
circular moulding.

It is difficult to suppose that the capitals of the columns could appear
unornamented side by side with pilaster-caps so elaborately enriched;
and we think it will freely be admitted that of the two, the known Greek
pilaster-cap, and that of my experimental column, the latter is more

A simple reference to the cuts will be sufficient to convince any
unprejudiced person that the minute scale of the ornaments on the
pilaster-cap demands a higher key of ornamentation than that I have

For the general tone of the plain portions of the monument, I have
adopted a general tint of yellow, but, as I said before, I believe that
the Greeks carried their ornamentation much beyond this. I think the
architrave was enriched with ornaments—certainly the soffits; and in
monuments like the Parthenon, I can come to no other conclusion but that
the columns were gold.

In the flutes of the Ionic columns of the Erectheum red has been
distinctly seen. This can only have been the ground for gold; the
fillets which separate the flutes of the Ionic column may then have been
white, but the flutes of the Doric column presenting a sharp arris,
which could not receive colour to separate the colours of the flutes,
the columns must have had one uniform tint, whatever it might have been,
and we can conceive no other worthy of such a building as the Parthenon,
or able to support the decoration above, but gold.

There is no authority for the gilding of the antefixæ, nor for the
guttæ, but their form suggests the only mode of treatment they could
receive with effect.


[Illustration: Portion of the Ceiling, showing what is known of the

[Illustration: Portion of the Ceiling as Painted.]

The diagram at once explains what is known in this attempt of supplying
the colours for a Greek ceiling; the colours however even of this are
doubtful. Traces only of the stains are known, and some of the ornaments
have been supposed to be coloured in such a way as to destroy the very
effect, which a mere glance at the diagram will show was intended to be
produced—viz., to imitate, or rather take the place of ornaments in
relief. The star in the centre of the coffer has traces of red upon it,
and has been published as a red star on a blue ground; but Mr. Penrose,
in his work, makes it gold, which is a much more probable arrangement.

[Illustration: Painted Ornaments in the Centres of the Coffers of the
Ceiling of the Propylaea, Athens, as published by Mr. Penrose.]

It will be seen that the parts I have supplied are frets on the plain
soffits of the beams and the ornament on the side of the beams; the
frets I have used in such a way as best to define the architectural
lines of the ceiling.

Those who are inclined to believe that _wherever_ the Greeks ornamented,
_there_ traces of ornament are found, and that consequently where no
ornament is found none existed, of course stop at the stage represented
by the outline diagram, and believe that the general harmony which such
partial ornamenting would disturb was restored by covering all the plain
parts with stains or tints which may or may not have been varied. Till
more is known all this must ever remain matter of opinion and subject to

This opinion, however, is entirely based on the fact that the traces of
ornament which do remain are all engraved in outline on the marble with
a sharp instrument; and it is therefore concluded that this was the
universal practice of the Greeks, and that, where no engraved line
exists there was no ornament. I think this a very bold assumption.

It is evident that in such enduring ornaments as those of the Greeks,
provision must have been made for repaintings; and, therefore, on their
moulded surfaces they took care to leave an enduring mark of the
pattern, more especially as these mouldings were in positions most
difficult of access; whilst on the broader surfaces this labour in the
beginning would not be necessary, as the ornaments may have been readily
repainted without it.

In the three centre bays we have attempted a still higher key of colour.
The ornaments of the coffers are suggested by No. 2, from the coffers of
the Propylaea.


The enrichment A, and the fret B and C, are published by Mr. Penrose; A,
coloured exactly as I have shown it, and B and C with the fret only in
gold, of which he imagines the pattern now on their surfaces may have
been the trace.

[Illustration: Architrave Band, as published by Mr. Penrose.]

The principle of colouring on the moulding A helps to the colouring of
the frets B and C, which, placed in the original 40 feet from the
ground, would have been invisible in gold alone or any other tint.

                        THE PANATHENAIC FRIEZE.

I have placed in the gallery behind the Greek and Roman Courts, casts
from the Elgin frieze of the British Museum,[4] for the express purpose
of showing how it might possibly have been coloured.

Footnote 4:

  The casts obtained from the British Museum were first fixed in their
  place; the missing portions were then supplied, by inserting casts of
  portions of the frieze found perfect in other parts of it. Thus, when
  a head, hand, or foot was wanting, a cast was taken of a head, hand,
  or foot, where found perfect, and then inserted. So that this frieze,
  although not an absolute reproduction of the original, is as nearly as
  possible all Greek. This restoration was confided to Mr. Raffaelle
  Monti, assisted by Franz Mitterlöchner and Andreas Grass.


That it was coloured in some manner or other there can be no manner of
doubt, and we think that any unprejudiced person who will examine the
portion of the frieze in white at the end of gallery, with the known
painted ornament above and below it, will at once admit this. There are
other considerations which would lead one to imagine it destined to
receive colour, even had no traces of colour been found on the
architecture above and around it. As there are still many who believe,
and will believe against all evidence, that this frieze never was
painted, I must bring forward some arguments which appear to me so
strong as to render the idea of its colourless state impossible.

This frieze in the Parthenon is 40 feet from the ground to the centre of
it, and in the position A on the section (p. 17), whilst our experiment
is only 16 feet, to the centre of the bas-relief: to be seen at an angle
of 45°, the eye of the spectator must have been at least 60 feet from
it: now only let the visitor stand at this distance from the portion of
our cast that remains in white, and he will see how little of the detail
is visible to the eye.

[Illustration: Section showing the position of the Panathenaic Frieze.]

Let him place himself at the same distance from the portion of frieze
which I have painted, and he will see how visibly colour develops form.

How many thousands pass daily the Athenæum Club in Pall Mall and are not
conscious that there is above their heads a copy of this divine work of
Phidias; if this were coloured (as it ought to be) who could pass by and
escape it. The frieze in the Parthenon could not have been seen without
colour as distinctly as the copy on the Athenæum Club, as it was under a
portico, and in shadow.

People are apt to argue that Phidias never could have taken such pains
to study the light and shade of this bas-relief if the fineness of his
workmanship had had to be stopped up when bedaubed with paint.

Now people who argue thus have never understood what colour does when
applied to form. The very fact that colour has to be applied, demands
the highest finish in the form beneath. By more visibly bringing out the
form it makes all defects more prominent. Let any one compare the
muscles of the figures in white, with the muscles of those coloured, and
he will not hesitate an instant to admit this truth. The labours of
Phidias, had they never received colour, would have been thrown away; it
was because he designed them to receive colour that such an elaboration
of the surface was required.

My attempt is seen under every disadvantage; it is too near the eye and
too near the light; and it is painted on a material which is most
ungracious for the reception of colour. The minute undulations of marble
always lose something in a plaster reproduction, but when the plaster
has further to be painted with four coats of oil paint to stop the
suction, it may readily be imagined how much the more delicate
modulations of the surface will suffer.

I have preferred, however, to put forth this experiment with all its
disadvantages, than attempt to soften the asperities by any artificial
arrangement, convinced that if it can find some favour in its present
position, it would gain immeasurably by being seen in a position
analogous to that occupied by the original.

It will be seen further on that no traces of colour exist at the present
time on these marbles. They were moulded in Athens prior to their
removal to this country, and whatever colour they may have then retained
disappeared during the cleansing of the marbles by soap-lees, after the
process of moulding.

We are therefore driven to the remains of colour on other monuments, and
to analogy for the proposed restoration of the several colours.


The colour of the background of some of the pediments of the Greek
temples is known to have been blue, and if we admit that the bodies of
the figures were painted at all, it could have been no other colours.
The flesh colour being necessarily some kind of red, would have been
injured by a red ground, while yellow would have advanced to the eye,
and can form a background only to white, the only colour more advancing
than itself. I believe, and it is generally accepted as proven, that the
ground was blue; and as there are many who stop here, admitting the blue
ground, but denying the colouring of the figures, a portion of the
frieze has been left in this stage, to enable them to form a judgment
upon it.

                               THE HAIR.

When I first attempted the experiment, I had a strong instinct that the
hair should be gold; but not having the authority for it, I was induced
to try it both brown and grey; neither of these colours, however, was
satisfactory, but having afterwards seen the collection of terra-cottas
in the Louvre, I became convinced that I was right in supposing that
they should be gold. In all these specimens the hair is of an intense
red, which can only have been the ground of gilding, now obliterated. In
the Elgin frieze, in the British Museum, may still be seen the holes
which were drilled to fix on the metallic trappings, which were also, no
doubt, gilt; and were these affixed in our experiment, the effect would
be much more harmonious.

                               THE FLESH.

The most difficult point to determine, is the colour of the flesh. It is
evident that the Greeks would avoid every attempt at representing
nature. Whatever colours they used, we may be sure that they were
treated conventionally only, so as to suggest the nature of the object
represented, yet not to attempt a direct imitation; we must feel,
however, that they went to the utmost limit of conventionality.

M. Hittorff has in his possession a fragment of a figure from Selinus,
retaining a flesh colour very similar to that which we have employed.

Although colour has been found on the hair, eyes, lips, and drapery of
Greek fragments of marble, no traces have as yet been found on the nude
portions. And those who believe that the marble of the Greeks was only
stained and not painted, build up a triumphant argument on this. The
explanation, however, is very simple; it is evident that the smooth
portions of a coloured object would lose their colour first under the
influence of time, and, in fact, all traces of colour that ever are
found, are found in the folds and crevices, from which it is fairly
argued that the surface of which they formed a part was of that colour.

Even in the Alhambra, which was entirely covered with colour, and which
is so many centuries nearer our time than the Greek temples, colour is
but rarely found on the surface: it is only by what is found in the
depths and hollows, that we know how the whole was coloured.

On the terra-cottas of the Louvre there are figures where the white
ground with which the whole surface of the terra-cottas was covered,
remains perfect over the whole of the figures, at the same time that a
fragment of flesh tint still remains upon some portion of it. Were this
absent, it might equally well be argued, that the Greeks were in the
habit of painting the flesh white on their terra-cottas.


In seeking a colour for the horses, I felt the choice lay between red,
white, black, or grey; further, that whatever colour was employed, it
would be in such a way as best to define and distinguish the various
portions of the groups. I do not think that a single colour, or shades
of the same colour, would have fulfilled this condition. White horses
would have been too prominent, black too sombre. The red I have employed
appeared to be the best colour for the principal horses, as best
balancing by their masses the blue background, whilst the relief between
horse and horse could be harmoniously obtained by the employment of grey
for the back horses. Authority for this mode of treatment exists on the
Greek vases and in the Etruscan tombs, where, when one horse passes
before another, there is a change of colour. As the horses in this
frieze are in ranks of nine, it is most probable that there was still
more variety of colour than I have attempted, to keep the various groups

                             THE DRAPERIES.

I was led to adopt this mode of treating the draperies from the
inspection of the Louvre collection of terra-cottas, where the draperies
are very well preserved. They are mostly pale blue and pale pink, the
pale blue with a pink border and the pink drapery with a blue border. I
have arranged the draperies in the way I felt most conducive to the
general effect, so as to bring the whole into harmony. The colours of
the other portions of the dresses are suggested by the materials which
they may be presumed to represent.

In placing this experiment before the public, I am quite aware how vain
would be the hope that I had produced a result worthy of the Greeks;
where there is so little to guide, success is well nigh impossible. The
most that I could hope to attain was to produce a result that might have
existed, and that would not have been discordant with the other portions
of a Greek monument. My failures even would answer a useful purpose, if
they served to direct other minds to work out this most interesting
problem, and to induce further researches on the monuments of Greece,
which have hardly yet been examined in this direction, because they have
not as yet been examined with faith, but rather with reluctance.

The experiment cannot be fairly tried till tried on marble, and in
conditions of space, atmosphere, &c., similar to those under which the
originals were placed.

I would ask those critics who stand on the ground of traditional
opinion, not too rashly by hard words to attempt to stop the inquiry
which this experiment may suggest. The facts are too strong to be put
aside by any opinion. If all who are anxious for the truth will only
seek it, there is little doubt that we may approach, if we do not reach

I have done all in my power to aid the cause. I have stood in the
breach, and shall be content should others walk over me to a more
complete victory. I am only anxious, in the meanwhile, that the Greeks
should not be condemned on my account.

I have no authority whatever for the colouring of the monument of
Lysicrates in the Great Transept. One fact deserves to be recorded, the
beautiful bas-reliefs of the frieze were absolutely invisible from
below, when in white, and this made me certain that it was a monument
designed to receive colour, and I therefore determined to attempt its

                                                             OWEN JONES.

  CRYSTAL PALACE, _June, 1854_.

                          NOTE BY MR. PENROSE.

I have seen no reason to alter my opinion (quoted p. 6) that the surface
of the marble played a considerable part in the general effect, and that
it was not concealed with paint, but tinged or stained in some manner to
the proper tone. An extensive and careful examination of the Pentelic
quarries by the orders of King Otho has shown that large blocks such as
were used at Athens are very rare indeed. The distance also from the
city is considerable: whereas there are quarries on Mount Hymettus at
little more than one-third of the distance (and most convenient for
carriage), which furnish immense masses of dove-coloured marble (much
prized, it would seem, by the Romans, Hor. ii. 18), and inferior in no
respect but that of colour to the Pentelic. It could therefore only have
been the intrinsic beauty of the latter material that led to its
employment by so practical a people as the Athenians. With respect to
the use of the outline traced with a sharp point (p. 16), had this been
a provision for repaintings, its absence from the Doric echinus is at
least conclusive that there was no ornament painted on that member; for
on no part of the architecture would the difficulty of reproducing the
pattern have been greater. But since these outlines are found
indifferently both on small and large mouldings, it seems to be a sound
conclusion which limits the painted ornaments to the parts so outlined.


I do not think that, with our present ideas of economy, we are able to
appreciate the motives of the Athenians in choosing their marble from
the Pentelic quarries in preference to those of Mount Hymettus. We must
remember that the Greeks built for their gods; and the Pentelic marble,
by presenting greater difficulties in its acquisition may have been a
more precious offering. I can more easily understand this than the use
of granite by the Egyptians, which was sought for from quarries much
more distant, and presented difficulties of workmanship many times

Mr. Penrose has examined most minutely the capitals of the columns of
the Parthenon, and is convinced that no outline of any kind exists upon
them; but I am not so convinced that there never was one there, because,
although outlines are found on fragments of some of the mouldings, they
do not exist everywhere on the same moulding: it is only under
favourable circumstances that the outline has been preserved. A Doric
echinus may yet be found with outlines upon it.

                                                             OWEN JONES.

                          HISTORICAL EVIDENCE.


I have been favoured by Mr. G. H. Lewes with the following arguments
derived from a perusal of Quatremère de Quincey, Winckelmann, and the
passages of ancient authors which are supposed to throw light on this
question; these I have submitted to a well known authority on Greek
literature, Mr. W. Watkiss Lloyd, and place here his observations on the
argument of Mr. Lewes, as I am most anxious that the public should be in
possession of whatever can be said on either side.

                          HISTORICAL EVIDENCE.

The idea of the Greeks having painted their statues is so repugnant to
all our modern prejudgments, that the mind is slow in familiarising
itself with the fact, even when indisputable evidence is brought
forward. The Greeks were artists of such exquisite taste, and of
principles so severe, that to accuse them of having _painted statues_,
is to accuse them of committing what in our day is regarded as pure
“barbarism.” The Greeks did not aim at reality, but at ideality; and the
painting of statues is thought to be only an attempt to imitate reality.

Nevertheless, however startling, the fact remains: the Greeks _did_
paint their statues. Living eyes have seen the paint. Living testimony
supports the testimony of ancient writers, and all that will be
necessary in these pages is to furnish some of the principal points of

In the first place, the reader must get out of all sculpture galleries,
erase from his mind all preconceptions derived from antique remains and
modern practices. Having done so, let him reflect on the historical
development of sculpture, and he will see this idea of painted figures
falling in its true place.

Sculpture of course began in Greece, as elsewhere, with idols. It is the
custom of all barbarous nations to colour their idols. The Egyptians, as
we know beyond all doubt, not only coloured, but dressed theirs. So did
the Greeks. It may be a question, whether the Greeks borrowed their art
from the Egyptians, improving it, as they did everything else. Let
scholars decide that question. This, however, is certain, that in either
case the Egyptian practice would obtain—

1st. If the Greeks borrowed from the Egyptians, they would borrow the
painting and dressing.

2nd. If they did not borrow—if their art was indigenous—then it would
come under the universal law of barbarian art; and painting would, at
any rate in the earlier epochs, have been employed. (We know that both
painting and dressing were employed in all epochs.)

This being so, and the custom being universal, unless the change from
painted to unpainted statues had been very gradual, insensibly so, the
man who first produced a marble statue without any addition would have
been celebrated as an innovator. No such celebrity is known.

Ancient literature abounds with references and allusions to the
practices of painting and dressing statues. Space prevents their being
copiously cited here. Moreover, many of them are too vague for _direct_
evidence. Of those which are _unequivocal_ a few will be given.

_Dressing Statues._—Pausanias describes a nympheum, where the women
assembled to worship, containing figures of Bacchus, Ceres, and
Proserpine, the heads of which alone were visible, the rest of the body
being hidden by draperies. And this explains a passage in Tertullian
(“De Jejun.,” 16), where he compares the goddesses to rich ladies having
their attendants specially devoted to dress them—_suas habebant
ornatrices_. For it must be borne in mind that the Greek idols, like the
saints in Catholic cathedrals, were kept dressed and ornamented with
religious care. Hence Homer frequently alludes to the offerings of
garments made to propitiate a goddess; thus, to cite but one, Hector
tells Hecuba to choose the most splendid _peplos_ to offer to Minerva
for her aid and favour. Dionysius, the Tyrant of Syracuse, according to
a well known anecdote, stripped the Jupiter of his golden cloak,
mockingly declaring that it was too heavy for summer, and too cold for

  “The golden cloak of the Sicilian Jupiter seems scarcely to illustrate
  the subject of dressing statues—as it was probably not drapery, not
  cloth enriched with gold—but solid, like the golden Ægis of the
  Minerva of Phidias, which could be removed and replaced.”—W. W. LLOYD.

These _dressed_ statues were for the most part _dolls_, however large.
The reader must remember that the dolls of his nursery are the lineal
descendants of ancient idols. Each house had its lares or household
gods; each house had its dressed idols. Statues, in our sense of the
word, were, it may be supposed, not dressed; but that they were painted
and ornamented there seems to be ample evidence.

_Coloured Statues._—If we had no other evidence than is afforded in the
great _variety_ of materials employed—ivory, gold, ebony, silver, brass,
bronze, amber, lead, iron, cedar, pear-tree, &c., it would suffice to
indicate that the prejudice about “purity of marble” _is_ a prejudice.
The critic may declare that a severe taste repudiates all colour, all
mingling of materials; but the Greek sculptors addressed the senses and
tastes of the Greek nation, and did so with a view to _religious_
effect, just as in Catholic cathedrals painted windows, pictures, and
jewelled madonnas appeal to the senses of the populace.

The Greeks made statues of ivory and gold combined. They also combined
various metals with a view of producing the effect of _colour_. One
example will suffice here. Pliny tells us (lib. xxxiv. cap. 14) that the
sculptor of the statue of Athamas, wishing to represent the blush of
shame succeeding his murder of his son, made the head of a metal
composed of copper and iron, the dissolution of the ferruginous material
giving the surface a red glow—_ut rubigine ejus per nitorem æris
relucente, exprimeretur verecundiæ rubor_. Twenty analogous examples of
various metals employed for colouring purposes might be cited.
Quatremère de Quincey, in his great work, “Le Jupiter Olympien,” has
collected many.

The reader may, however, admit that statues were made of various
materials, and that the bronze statues—which were incomparably more
numerous than the marble, may have been tinted, but still feel
disinclined to believe that the _marble_ statues were ever painted. A
few _decisive_ passages shall be adduced.

Let it be remembered that Socrates was the son of a sculptor, and that
Plato lived in Athens, acquainted with the great sculptors and their
works; then read this passage, wherein Socrates employs, by way of
simile, the practice of painting statues: “Just as if, when painting
statues, a person should blame us for not placing the most beautiful
colours on the most beautiful parts of the figure—inasmuch as the eyes,
the most beautiful parts, were not painted purple, but black—we should
answer him by saying, Clever fellow, do not suppose we are to paint eyes
so beautifully that they should not appear to be eyes.” (_Plato_, “De
Repub.” _lib._ iv., near the beginning.)

This passage would long ago have settled the question, had not the
moderns been pre-occupied with the belief that the Greeks did _not_
paint their statues. They, therefore, read the passage in another sense;
many translators read “pictures” for “statues.” But the Greek word
ανδριας signifies “statue,” and is _never_ used to signify “picture.” It
means statue, and a statuary is called the maker of such statues,
ανδριαντοποιος. (Mr. Davis, in Bohn’s English edition of Plato, avoids
the difficulty by translating it “human figures.”)

  “This passage is decisive as far as it goes, but it does not touch the
  question of colouring the flesh. It proves that as late as Plato’s
  time it was usual to apply colour to the eyes of statues; and
  assuming, what is not stated, that marble statues are in question, we
  are brought to the same point as by the Æginetan marbles, of which the
  eyes, lips, portions of the armour and draperies were found coloured.
  I forget whether the hair was found to be coloured, but the absence of
  traces of colour on the flesh, while they were abundant elsewhere,
  indicates that if coloured at all it must have been by a different and
  more perishable process—by a tint, or stain, or varnish. The Æginetan
  statues being archaic, do not give an absolute rule for those of
  Phidias. The archaic Athenian bas-relief of a warrior in excellent
  preservation, shows vivid colours on drapery and ornaments of armour,
  and the eye-balls were also coloured; but again, there is no trace of
  colour on the flesh.”—W. W. LLOYD.

Here is a passage which not only establishes the sense of the one in
Plato, but while unequivocally declaring that the ancients painted their
statues gives the reason why the paint is so seldom discoverable in the
antique remains. It is from Plutarch (“Quæst. Roman.” xcviii., at the
end): “It is necessary to be very careful of statues, otherwise the
_vermilion with which the ancient statues were coloured will quickly

  “This passage refers to archaic sacred figures, and at Rome (not in
  Greece), where after providing for the sacred geese and ganders, the
  first duty of certain officials on taking office was to furbish the
  _agalma_, or statue, which was necessary on ‘_account of the quick
  fading of the vermilion with which they used to tinge the archaic
  statues_.’ This is an accurate translation and a literal—and implies a
  difference between the archaic and the more modern in respect of
  colour, though not necessarily excluding all colour from the
  latter.”—W. W. LLOYD.

Had this passage been generally known the dispute could never have
maintained itself. There is nothing equivocal in the use of the word
μιλτινον, which means “vermilion;” nothing which admits of doubt in the
phrase ῳ τα παλαια των αγαλματων εχρωζον. And there are abundant notices
extant which illustrate it. One will suffice. The celebrated marble
statue of a Bacchante by Scopas is described as holding, in lieu of the
Thyrsus, a dead roebuck which is cut open, and the marble represents
living flesh. People have tried to explain this by saying that Scopas
discovered coloured veins in the marble, which he used to indicate
living flesh. The explanation is absurd. In the first place veins do not
so run in marble as to represent flesh; in the second, unless statues
_were_ usually coloured, such veins, if they existed, would be regarded
as terrible blemishes, and the very thing the Greeks are supposed to
have avoided—viz., colour as representing reality—would have been shown.

But colour _was_ used, as we know, and Pausanias (“Arcad.” lib. viii.,
cap. 39) describes a statue of Bacchus as having all those portions not
hidden by draperies, painted vermilion, the body being of gilded wood.
He also distinctly says that the statues made of gypsum were painted,
describing a statue of Bacchus γυψου πεποιημενον, which was—the language
is explicit—“_ornamented_ with paint” επικεκοσμημενον γραφη.

  “This statue was apparently ithyphallic, and probably archaic. Not
  drapery, but ivy and laurel, concealed the lower part of it. The
  colour of the exposed part was not local, but applied to the whole of
  it.”—W. W. LLOYD.

Virgil, in an epigram, not only offers Venus a _marble_ statue of Amor,
the wings of which shall be many-coloured and the quiver painted, but he
intimates that this shall be so because it is customary—

              Marmoreusque tibi, Dea, _versicoloribus alis
              In morem_ pictâ stabit Amor pharetrâ.

And in the seventh Eclogue, Virgil, speaking of the statue of Diana,
describes it as of marble with _scarlet_ sandals bound round the leg as
high as the calf.

              Si proprium hoc fuerit, levi de marmore tota
              Puniceo stabis suras evincta cothurno.

And there is a passage in Pliny which is decisive, as soon as we
understand the allusion. Speaking of Nicias (lib. xxxv. cap. 11), he
says, that Praxiteles, when asked which of his marble works best
satisfied him, replied, “Those which Nicias has had under his hands.”
“So much,” adds Pliny, “did he prize the finishing of Nicias”—_tantum
circumlitioni ejus tribuebat_.

The meaning of this passage hangs on the word _circumlitio_. Winckelmann
follows the mass of commentators in understanding this as referring to
some mode of _polishing_ the statues; but Quatremère de Quincey, in his
magnificent work “Le Jupiter Olympien,” satisfactorily shows this to be
untenable, not only because no sculptor could think of preferring such
of his statues as had been better polished, but also because Nicias
being a _painter_, not a sculptor, his services must have been those of
a painter.

What were they? Nicias was an _encaustic painter_, and hence it seems
clear that his _circumlitio_—his mode of finishing the statues, so
highly prized by Praxiteles—must have been the application of encaustic
painting to those parts which the sculptor wished to have ornamented.
For it is quite idle to suppose a sculptor like Praxiteles would allow
another sculptor to _finish_ his works. The rough work may be done by
other hands, but the finishing is always left to the artist. The statue
completed, there still remained the painter’s art to be employed, and
for that Nicias was renowned.

Even Winckelmann (“Geschichte der Kunst,” buch I. kap. 2), after noting
how the ancients were accustomed to dress their statues, adds, “This
gave rise to the painting of those parts of the marble statues which
represented the clothes, as may be seen in the Diana found at
Herculanæum in 1760. The hair is blonde; the draperies white, with a
triple border, one of gold, the other of purple, with festoons of
flowers, the third plain purple.”

There are still traces visible of gilding in the hair of statues. Even
the Venus de’ Medici has such. And the bored ears speak plainly of

While the testimony of antiquity is thus explicit, there is the still
more convincing testimony of living eyes, which have seen this painting
on statues. The celebrated Swedish traveller, Akerblad, says, “I am
convinced that the practice of colouring marble statues and buildings
was much more frequent than is supposed. The second time I visited
Athens, I had opportunity of narrowly inspecting the frieze of the
Temple of Theseus, and I came away convinced it had been painted.”
Quatremère de Quincey mentions statues he has seen, and refers
especially to the Apollo in the Louvre, made of Pentelic marble, almost
all over the naked surfaces of which a trace of red was faintly
perceptible. The same with a Diana at Versailles; but he adds, “these
traces grow daily fainter.” The eyes and mouth of the colossal Pallas de
Velletri still retain the violet colour.

Such are a few of the evidences. On examining them, we find them not
only unequivocal in themselves, but complementary of each other. Living
testimony, supposing it to be accepted without demur, would not suffice
to settle the question of what was the ancient practice; for it might
not unreasonably be argued that these traces of painting on the statues
are only evidences of a degenerate taste—like our whitewashing of
cathedrals—and no evidences of Greek artists having perpetrated such
offences against taste. But when it is seen, by the testimony of ancient
writers, such as Plato, Pliny, Plutarch, and Virgil, that the Greek
artists _did_ colour their statues, the fact of the statues being
discovered with traces of colour is explained, while on the other hand
this fact helps to clear away all trace of doubt which might linger in a
supposed equivocalness in the passages from ancient writers.

                                                            G. H. LEWES.

  “As regards archaic sculpture in Greece, we may be considered to have
    decisive proof from Pausanias and others, that the ancient sacred
    figures, that were rather venerated as idols than admired for art,
    were often entirely coloured—flesh and drapery with vermilion,
    perhaps conventionally and rudely enough, as we find on the archaic
    vases, the flesh of women painted white, and that of men black.

  The marble statues of Ægina, and others, that are works of truly
    fine art, offer a second form of the application of colour. Here
    the eyes, lips, draperies, ornaments, and details of arms, have
    their true local colour, but the monuments themselves only give
    us the negative evidence with respect to the flesh, that if
    coloured at all, it must have been less solidly. Unless it were
    tinged or stained, it is difficult to understand how the effect
    of the coloured part could have been otherwise than very
    disagreeable—spotty, patchy, crude, ghastly to the last degree;
    but the experiment might be tried.

  On the other hand, it is most certain that in the chryselephantine
    statues, the Minerva of the Parthenon, the Jupiter Olympian, the
    Juno of Argos, by Phidias, and by Polycletus, the greatest variety
    of colour was applied throughout—or rather variety of colour was
    given by the different materials of which these figures were
    composed, ivory, gold, various coloured woods, stones and gems. But
    painting or staining in the proper sense of the words, was certainly
    applied to some portions; as, for instance, Pausanias states that
    the robe of Jupiter had lilies painted on it.

  The application of colour to the details of the architecture at least,
    and to portions of the architectonic sculpture, would be absolutely
    required, to harmonise them with the chief object in the temple

  Lastly, as to the flesh of marble statues of the best age, no rule can
    be deduced for this from any practice that obtained in primitive
    times, or from chryselephantine works, which seem to have been in
    designed contrast in the whole of their treatment.

  The argument for colour on marble flesh of the best age, from existing
    remains, so far as I am aware, is equal to zero. But the passage
    respecting Nicias and Polycletus, is of very great force. There is
    no escape from its application to marble statues, nor from the great
    skill that there was occasion and scope for in the _circumlitio_.
    Whatever this tinging or colouring may have been, we may be sure
    that it was so employed as to heighten the purest effects. The edge
    and sharpness, and smoothness and brilliancy, of the material,
    cannot have been destroyed by it; rather sobered it may be, but
    still enhanced. Doubtless it aided the peculiar glories of
    sculpture, the display of forms, by rendering them more
    visible—idealised rather than imitated nature, and treated every
    part under the law of regard to the supreme intention and sentiment
    of the whole. The same remarks (such as they are) apply to
    bas-reliefs, which, however, have difficulties of their own.

  Vitruvius (vii. 9), after describing the preparation of _minium_ or
    vermilion, goes on to speak of its liability to change colour from
    the action of direct sunlight, and gives instructions for protecting
    it; he does not mention the medium employed with the colour, but as
    it is insoluble, we must assume the use of size, as in other
    instances, or gum, &c. The wall he is thinking of is apparently

  ‘When the wall is painted with vermilion and dry, lay on with a brush
    (of bristles, a hard or rough brush), Punic wax melted over the
    fire, and a little tempered with oil; then by means of hot coals in
    an iron vessel, warm the wall well and make the wax run, and
    equalize itself; afterwards rub it with a wax candle and clean
    cloths, as nude marble figures are treated.’

  Pliny (xxi. 14) gives the preparation of Punic wax by a process of
    which the chemical result, according to Dr. Turner, was a soap of
    twenty parts wax to one of soda. He also (xxxiii. 7) describes the
    same process as Vitruvius above, apparently copying him or a common
    authority. The wax, he says, is applied hot, heated with coals
    (admotis _gallæ_ carbonibus, whatever they may be), and then rubbed
    with wax candles, and afterwards with clean linen cloths, as marbles
    also become bright (or shiny), (sicut et marmora nitescunt).

  Now how much of the treatment thus expressed applies to sculpture?
    Putting the case most strongly, it might be said,—the whole, and
    that nothing less than the whole, will accord with the _circumlitio_
    of statues mentioned elsewhere, and by applying the whole we might
    connect these notices with those of Plutarch and Pausanias of the
    employment of vermilion in colouring statues, though these latter go
    for very little as applicable to the best works of the best time.
    The construction of the words of both authors imply in strictness
    that the wax and linen rubbings of statues were applied to the wax
    previously laid on and heated.

  The treatment of statues is referred by Vitruvius specially to the
    nude; it seems, therefore, to have had connection with a design to
    assist or heighten the effect of the sculptured nude flesh, as
    distinguished from drapery, &c. This would be natural enough, though
    no colours were employed, or not for every part, but if they were we
    must suppose that Vitruvius has vermilion in his mind leading him to
    limit his observation. Pliny’s expression shows that even assuming
    colour there is no opaqueness in question.

  If a verdict were to be given on this evidence as it stands, I am much
    disposed to think that it must be in favour of a tinge of vermilion,
    protected by a brilliant varnish, having been applied to the nude
    portions of (? some) marble statues in such a manner that both
    colour and varnish assisted the fine surface and brilliant effect of
    the lucent marble. So much for this part of the evidence and its
    bearing on a final decision.”—W. W. LLOYD.

                           MATERIAL EVIDENCE.

In 1836 a committee was appointed by the Royal Institute of British
Architects, to examine the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum, in order
to ascertain whether any evidences remained as to the employment of
colour in the decoration of the architecture or sculpture.[5]

Footnote 5:

  Extracted from the report of the committee, published in the
  Transactions of the Royal Institute of British Artists, Vol. I. Part
  II. 1842.

This committee consisted of Mr. Hamilton, Sir Richard Westmacott, Sir
Charles L. Eastlake, R.A., Mr. Cockerell, R.A., Dr. Faraday, and Messrs.
Angell, Donaldson, and Scoles. The committee found on several
architectural fragments from the Erectheum and the Propylaea of Athens,
traces of ornaments which had been engraved with a tool on the surface
of the marble, and also verified a difference of texture in the parts
occupied by the coloured surface from the ground, but were unable to
decide “whether the parts now smooth and rough were originally in that
state, or whether the part now rough has become so in consequence of the
action of the atmosphere upon it, the smooth part having been protected
from that action by gilding or colour.”

No traces of colour were discovered on any of the figures of the
bas-reliefs, metopes, or sculptures of the pediments, but it was stated
to the committee by Mr. Sarti, the modeller, who was engaged in taking
moulds of the whole series of the Elgin Marbles belonging to the
Parthenon, “that the whole surface of the marbles had been twice washed
over with soap leys, subsequently to their having been moulded on former
occasions, as that or some other strong acid is necessary for the
purpose of removing the soap which is originally put on the surface in
order to detach the plaster of the mould; Dr. Faraday was of opinion
that this circumstance was of itself sufficient to have removed every
vestige of colour, which might have existed originally on the surface of
the marble.”

A letter was read to the committee, from Mr. Bracebridge, “forwarding a
memorandum of colours and patterns from the Erectheum; they are drawn
from the northern portico of that conjoint temple of Minerva Polias,
Pandrosus, and Erectheus, so well known in the Acropolis. This side of
the temple, being so well sheltered from the sea breeze, has preserved
its sculptured ornaments as fresh and sharp as if lately finished; and
the columns of this portico, being fluted with capitals elaborately
worked and well sheltered, have retained remains of colour. At the top
of the flutings especially, a thin coat of slate-coloured paint is
visible, at other points yellow and red colour may be traced; but the
remaining pieces are so small and the colours so much faded, as to leave
the subject in dispute; this being alone certain that there was once
colour carefully applied (at all events, to the entaglio parts of the
relief or concave parts of the capitals, &c.), and that this colour was
of various shades; the protuberant part of the work retains no colour.
The probability that blue, red, and yellow were used is very strong.”

Mr. Bracebridge further states, that “in the winter of 1835–6, an
excavation was made to the depth of twenty-five feet, at the south-east
angle of the Parthenon; here remains were found of huge blocks of marble
fresh from the quarries, chippings, &c. &c.; and below these, fragments
of vessels, pottery, and burnt wood. No one who saw these could doubt
that a level was dug down to below that where the workmen of the
Parthenon had thrown their refuse marble, in fact the level of the old
Hecatompedon, of which possibly the burnt wood may have been the

“Here were found _many_ pieces of marble, and among these fragments
parts of triglyphs, of fluted columns, and of statues, particularly a
female head (the hair is nearly the costume of the present day).

“These three last-mentioned fragments were painted with the brightest
red, blue, and yellow, or rather vermilion, ultramarine, and straw
colour, which last may have faded in the earth.

“These curious specimens are carefully preserved in the Acropolis, but
much fear is entertained of their retaining the brightness of their
highly contrasted colours for any length of time. The colours are laid
on in thick coats. The female face had the eyes and eyebrows painted.
When we consider the brilliancy of Pentelic marble when fresh worked,
there appears a reason for using colours beyond that of imitating the
usages of Attica, in more ancient temples, namely, that the minutiæ of
the work in many parts would have been lost to the eye amidst the
general brilliancy.”

The committee finally concluded that “Upon a consideration of all the
facts in the preceding minutes, it appears to the committee, that there
remain no indications of colour artificially applied upon the surface of
the statues and bas-reliefs, that is upon the historical sculpture.
That, according to Dr. Faraday’s opinion, those portions of the marbles,
which, from the tone and surface might be supposed to be the result of
colour applied thereon, are the original surface of the marble, stained
by the atmosphere, the presence of iron in the marble, or by some such
natural cause. That some of the architectural fragments present
indisputable traces of tone, indicative of regular architectural
ornaments, and the outlines of such ornaments are distinctly traceable,
being marked with a sharp instrument on the surface of the marble.

“The committee cannot positively state, from the appearance of the
marble, that such tones have been produced by colour, as they think that
none of the colour itself remains, but that the indication of tone
results from the mere variation of surface. Judging, however, from the
information contained in Mr. Bracebridge’s communication, there appears
no reason to doubt that colour has been applied. This is confirmed by
the portions of coatings brought from Athens by Mr. Donaldson, and
analysed by Dr. Faraday, who has detected frit, or vitreous substance,
and carbonate of copper, mixed with wax, and a fragrant gum. This
analysis proves that the surface of the shafts of the columns of the
Theseum and other parts of the edifices from which these coatings were
taken, were covered with a coloured coating. The glass eyes also of the
Ionic capitals of the tetrastyle portico of the Acropolis, at Athens,
prove, that various materials were employed by the Athenians in the
decoration of the exterior of their marble buildings.

“But although the statues and bas-reliefs of the Parthenon, at least
those portions of them preserved in the Elgin Collection, do not afford
any evidence of the use of colour, yet there is a constant repetition of
small circular holes in the horses’ heads and manes, and in one hand of
each rider, showing that there had been originally bridles and straps to
the horses, either of metal, leather, or some other similar substance.
Similar holes are perceptible in the statue, No. 94 (in red), of
Proserpine, one of the two female figures of the eastern tympanum of the
Parthenon, called also the Seasons or the Hours; they are in the arm,
just above the wrist, apparently for the purpose of attaching bracelets,
and in the shoulders at the junction of the drapery, as though a metal
rosette had been affixed there. On the neck of one of the Fates, No. 97
(in red), are also two holes, which seem to have been for a necklace. In
the back of the torso of Victory, No. 96 (in red), are large holes, in
which it is supposed bronze wings were fastened. No. 101 (in red) is a
fragment of the upper part of the head[6] of Minerva; the sockets of the
eyes are hollow, and were evidently filled with metal or with coloured
stones, and holes remain in the upper part of the head, affording a
presumption that there was originally a bronze helmet attached to the
marble. The angles of the ægis of No. 102 (in red), which is a fragment
of the statue of Minerva, one of the principal figures of the western
pediment, are drilled with holes, by which the metallic serpents were
attached, and in the centre a head of the Gorgon.”

Footnote 6:

  “This fragment alone may perhaps be considered as an exception to the
  previous statement, that there are no evidences of colour on the
  statues or figures of the Parthenon. The hair appears to have a red
  tint, which becomes distinctly apparent upon the application of
  water.”—_Note of the Committee._

                                         “THOS. L. DONALDSON, Hon. Sec.”

The following is the report which was laid before the committee, from
Dr. Faraday, upon some portions of coatings of marble taken from several
buildings, at Athens, by Professor Donaldson.


  “I return you the box, with the remains of the samples.

“A. Portion of coating taken from the antæ of the Propylaeum.

  “The blue produced by carbonate of copper: wax being mingled with
  the colour.

“B. Portion of coating taken from the soffits of the mutules of the

  “The blue is a frit or vitreous substance coloured by copper. Wax is
  present here.

“C. Portion of coating taken from the columns of the Theseum.

  “I am doubtful about this surface. I do not find wax or a mineral
  colour, unless it be one due to a small portion of iron. A fragrant
  gum appears to be present in some pieces, and a combustible
  substance in all. Perhaps some vegetable substance has been used.

“D. Portions of coatings from the caissons or lacunaria of the

  “The blue is a copper frit, or glass, with wax.

“E. Portions of coating from the northern wing of the Propylaea.

  “The colour a carbonate of copper. Wax is present.

“F. Ditto, ditto (north wing of the Propylaea) as E.

“I also return you the drawings and letter.

                                      “Every truly yours,
                                          (Signed)        “M. FARADAY.

  “T. L. Donaldson, Esq., &c.”


                          BY PROFESSOR SEMPER.

From the time of antiquity to our own day men have sought to discover or
invent the probable origin of the various systems of architecture.
Besides the well known _hut_ of Vitruvius, and the no less celebrated
_grotto_ of the Ichthyophagi or fish-eating races, (the supposed type of
the Egyptian temples), the tent of the Nomad, or wandering races,
occupies a very important place in our theories of the origin of styles.
In the catenary formed by the fall of the drapery of a Mongol tent, has
been recognised the type of Chinese and Tartar architecture.

Footnote 7:

  Extracted from an Essay written in 1852, and published in Germany
  under the title of “The Four Elements of Architecture.” By PROFESSOR

But no notice has been taken of the much more evident and less doubtful
influence, which drapery itself, in its quality of a vertical wall, or
partition, has exercised on certain architectural forms. Nevertheless it
is the _motif_ which I venture to cite, as the one on which ancient art
has been principally founded.

It is well known that the nascent taste for the beautiful among those
races which are in a state of social infancy, is first exercised in the
manufacture of coarse tissues, which serve either as beds or as

The art of dress is less ancient than that of the manufacture of stuffs,
as several examples of people to whom clothing is unknown, and who
nevertheless possess an industry, more or less developed, in tissues and
embroidery, may satisfy us.

The earliest woven work would seem to be the _fence_, that is, branches
of trees interlaced, serving the purpose of enclosure and of partition.
The most savage tribes are acquainted with this method of construction.
Thus the employment of coarse tissue or woven work (which was a mere
fence) as a means of securing privacy from the world outside certainly
far preceded the constructed wall of stone, or of any other material;
this last only became necessary at a much later period, for requirements
which in their nature bear no relation whatever to space and its
subdivision. The stone wall was made for greater security, longer
duration, and to serve as a support for heaps of various materials and
stores; in fine, for purposes foreign to the original idea; viz., that
of the separation of space, and it is most important to remark, that
_wherever the secondary motives did not exist, woven fabrics maintained,
almost without exception, especially in southern lands, their ancient
office, that of the ostensible separation of space_; and even in cases
where the construction of solid walls became necessary, these last are
but the internal and unseen scaffolding of the true and legitimate
representatives of division, that is to say, of drapery richly varied
with ornamental work, interlacings, and colours.

The difference which exists between the ostensible and principal
separation, and the constructed separation, is expressed in ancient and
modern languages by terms more or less significative.

In the Latin tongue, a distinction is made between _paries_ and _murus_.

The Germans, in the word _wand_ (of the same root with _gewand_, which
means texture) recal still more directly the ancient origin and type of
a wall.

New inventions soon led to different methods of replacing the primitive
drapery, and every art was successively called in to contribute its part
to these innovations, which may have been brought about by various
reasons; such, for example, as the desire for longer endurance, for the
sake of cleanliness, economy, comfort, distinction, coolness, heat, &c.

One of the most ancient and most general methods of replacing the use of
drapery or tapestry is the coat of stucco or of plaster, furnished by
the masons who built the walls.

Another very ancient method of replacing the original tapestry is, that
of wooden panels, with which the wall was covered internally. That which
proves the antiquity of this custom is, that in several ancient
languages the expression which is only properly applicable to panels of
wood, serves indifferently to signify every kind of flat surface
(_table_) in wood, metal, ivory, or any other material.

It is thus we must explain the Greek expression πιναξ, (in Latin
_tabula_) as a painting on wood, or also on marble, baked clay, &c.
Plates of burnt clay, thin but of large circumference, were equally
called “πινακες.”

The style of mural painting at Pompeii is only to be understood by the
same ancient custom of covering and inlaying the walls which they
reproduced in appearance by divisions and painted draperies. See
Vitruvius, on this point, in the chapter on Plastering. Wiegmann has
erred in attributing the same system of ancient painting to purely
technic causes.

The Ceramic art was, in its turn, called on as a means of replacing
drapery. It is certain that potter’s clay painted, and even glazed,
served, at a very remote period, as a covering for walls. It may even be
admitted, that the employment of the potter’s art on the surface of
walls, preceded the manufacture of burnt bricks, and that the invention
of burning bricks was the result of the custom cited above.

The mural incrustations in baked clay were the precursors of brick
masonry; in the same manner as the Assyrian slabs may be considered to
be the forerunners of constructions in hewn stone. We shall return again
to this subject.

Among the various methods of replacing the use of drapery, should be
also mentioned those furnished by metallurgic processes. Vestiges of
metallic coverings on walls have been found on the oldest existing
monuments; and the most ancient annals of mankind are filled with
recitals of buildings resplendent with gold and silver, bronze and tin

As an invention of relatively recent date, may be cited lastly, the use
of slabs of marble or stone, granite, alabaster, &c., notwithstanding
that we find traces of this custom, but as it were already effaced, on
the most ancient monuments of the earth. (_See farther on_).

In all the cases we have named, _the character of the substitute
followed that of its original type_, and the painting and sculpture, or
rather the two united, on wood, plaster, burnt clay, metal, stone, or
ivory, was—and traditionally continued to be—an imitation, more or less
faithful, of the embroideries or variegated interlacings which
ornamented the antique wall-coverings.

It may be asserted that the entire system of decoration, with the art of
painting and sculpture in relief, up to the period of its highest
application, which is that of the tympanums of the pediments in the
Greek temples, proceeded from the manufactures of the Assyrian weavers
and dyers; or rather from their predecessors in human inventions. In any
case, it was the Assyrians—next to the Chinese—who appear to have
preserved most faithfully the antique type, even in its application to a
different material. We will enter a little more explicitly on this

                             THE ASSYRIANS.

The ancient writers often mention and praise the Assyrian tissues for
the art employed in their manufacture; for the splendour and harmony of
their colours, and the richness of the fanciful compositions with which
they were embroidered. The mystical figures of bucentaurs, lions,
dragons, unicorns, and other monsters, which the authors describe, are
absolutely identical with those which we see on the bas-reliefs of
Nimroud and Khorsabad. But this identity was not in the subjects alone.
There is no doubt that the manner of treatment, the _style_ of these
subjects, was identical with that of the objects embroidered on the
tissues, which ancient authors have described.

On examining somewhat attentively the Assyrian sculptures, it is easy to
satisfy oneself that the art of the Assyrian sculptor moved within
limits traceable from its origin, viz., embroidered work, allowance
being made for certain alterations of style, caused by the requirements
of a new material.

One perceives in these Assyrian sculptures, the desire on the artist’s
part of an attention to the truth of Nature, but that he has been
hindered in his task, not—as with the Egyptians—by a regular
hieroglyphic system and hieratical laws, but rather by the caprices of a
method difficult, and indeed foreign to sculpture, the influence of
which was still strongly felt. Thus the sculpture of this people kept
itself within the bounds of a very low and flat relief, exactly similar
to that of some productions of Chinese woven work, seen in the Great
Exhibition of 1851, which possessed peculiar interest in the history of
Art, inasmuch as they exhibited the transition of the high woof into
polychromic bas-relief.

The Assyrian figures, without being embalmed mummies like those of
Egypt, show, nevertheless, much stiffness and irregularity; they appear
as it were imprisoned and confined within an invisible canvas. Their
contours are, so to speak, tacked in with threads. One recognises in
them an awkwardness and hardness arising from the contest of the artist
with a material foreign to the style: whilst the Egyptian bas-reliefs
evince an original, canonical, and voluntary stiffness. I am tempted to
believe that all those slabs of alabaster from Assyria, with their
religious, warlike, and domestic scenes, are nothing more than exact
copies in stone, after originals in tissues, at that time celebrated and
executed by good native artists, who worked on that material only,
whilst they employed mere workmen to transfer the originals on to stone,
as well as the material would allow, which explains the difference
between the design and execution which these works betray. This same
character is also found on the Assyrian paintings.

It is not to be doubted that the true tapestries were employed with
profusion, side by side with the stereotyped copies: and probably these
last were often covered with the originals, on the occasion of solemn
ceremonies, &c., and that they were only exposed during the intervals
between the _fêtes_, &c. We observe the same thing at this day in the
Catholic churches, where this ancient custom, with many others, is
strictly preserved. The inscriptions and their application in bands,
indicate the same origin. Does it not appear as if the cuneiform
characters were invented and designed for execution in needlework? In
fine, the simplicity of the system of paving of the rooms, otherwise so
richly ornamented, goes to prove that they were originally covered with
tapestry. It is only the slabs which form the cills of the doors on
which tapestry could not be placed, which indeed form an exception,
being ornamented with engraved work, in imitation of tapestry. (_See_
Layard.) It is thus that these last became also the types of parquetry
work in mosaic.

Up to the present point, we have only considered what relates to the
representations found on the Assyrian slabs. But these, in themselves,
give us still more cause for reflection, and singularly justify our
assertion of the importance, in an architectural point of view, of the
coverings of walls.

The principle of panelling constructed work shows itself here in all its
primitive simplicity. We know that almost all the lower portions of
walls, within and without, were covered with thin slabs of alabaster or
basalt. The same principle under another form, obtained in the upper
portions of the walls; here, the walls of unbaked brick were inlaid with
glazed bricks; but the plan pursued by the Assyrians in executing this
incrustation differs greatly from that which we observe elsewhere, and
from what we pursue at the present day.

The Assyrian bricks are only glazed on the external side, and the
ornaments and other subjects which were figured on them in the glazing,
bear no relation to the construction, so that the ornamental lines cross
the joints of the bricks irregularly.

The enamel is very fusible and the bricks but slightly burnt, evidently
with the sole intention of fixing the glazing on them, which induces me
to conjecture, that the use of glazed pottery preceded and prepared the
way for that of baked bricks, and that the art of pottery was already
far advanced before the introduction of burnt brick work. Other
indications which would take too long to specify here, have proved to
me, that the bricks received their coating placed in a horizontal
position: First, they were ranged in the order which they would take
when in their place, they then traced the design formed on this
arrangement of unburnt bricks; next, they covered with these painted
bricks—observing still the same order—the interior of the room; and
lastly, they placed a fire in the room to fix the varnish which covered
the walls.[8]

Footnote 8:

  The same method is to be found in some old buildings in Scotland.

It results, from what I have observed, that the decoration of the wall
did not depend upon the construction of the same, even when baked and
glazed bricks were employed.

The _constructive system_—after the manner of mosaic—_of decoration in
enamelled bricks is a later invention_, probably a Roman one. The
enamelled Assyrian bricks, should be regarded as a mural incrustation,
as a covering absolutely independent of the wall itself, and even of the
terra-cotta slab or tile, on which it was directly fixed.

                             THE PERSIANS.

The Assyrian system of panelling the lower portions of their buildings
with slabs of alabaster, may be considered as the first step towards
construction in hewn stone, and towards the introduction of the “_coupe
de pierre_” into the number of architectural and ornamental elements.

_It is only in the terraces, and the sub-basements of buildings, in the
primitive ages of art, that hewn stone and its construction appeared to
the eye._ These parts of the buildings were the mason’s oldest domain.

The Persian monuments of Murgaub and Istakir, afford us the means of
observing the second step which decorative art made towards the
principle of construction. They were composed, like their models in
Assyria, of unbaked bricks, of which nothing remains, whilst however,
the direction of the walls is still indicated by marble pillars, which
originally served to strengthen the angles of the walls, and by the
jambs of doors and windows and by niches, with which the walls were

All these parts were ornamented in the Assyrian manner, and testify to
the principles of which we have been speaking. But here we have no
longer slabs, but hewn masses of stone of enormous dimensions,
frequently monoliths. Nevertheless, in spite of their solidity, they
betray their type, in a most remarkable manner, inasmuch as they form a
kind of framework hollowed out internally to receive the mass of masonry
in unbaked brick, which they were designed to cover and to protect, and
which, in the interspaces of the pillars and jambs above-named, were
covered with slabs of marble, or more probably, with panels of
cypress-wood, covered in turn by plates of gold and silver, or it may be
also with richly embroidered stuffs.

                             THE EGYPTIANS.

The theocratic system of the Egyptians, although its origin extends
beyond the horizon of history and even of tradition, is not the less
based on the ruins of a social state more ancient still, and much more
natural. The founders of this system, have altered the primitive style
of architectural decoration in petrifying it; that is to say, in making
it a style eminently adapted for stone constructions and monuments.

But amidst the hieroglyphical symbols may still be recognised the traces
of its origin, obscure it is true, but unmistakeable. It has been
observed by travellers in Egypt, that Egyptian art bears quite a
different character in the sepulchral tombs, to that which is observed
on the great temples and palace temples of the kings. It is that in
these sepulchral chambers, art could move somewhat more freely than it
was permitted to do in those grand monumental edifices, which were
raised under the immediate influence of the priesthood.

Now it has been proved that in all the tombs, the ancient method of
draping the walls, or rather of decorating them in the style of
tapestry, was apparent in its greatest simplicity. It is observable,
first in the character of the ornaments themselves, which consist of
interlacings and gracefully varied knots, whilst these decorations
borrowed from the weaver’s art, are almost banished from the temples and
are replaced by symbolic figures and ornament. It may be recognised, in
the second place, by the fact, that the paintings in the sepulchral
tombs are generally enclosed with borders, as if to indicate that they
represent suspended tapestry.

Although this primitive type shows itself less positively in the
temples, indications are nevertheless not wanting which remind us of it.

The contemporary artists of the French expedition have already
observed—and their discovery has been since then verified—that the
monuments of Egypt, including even those executed in granite, have been
covered with a complete coating of colour and varnish, over the _entire
surface_. That indeed might be expected, for the hewn stonework of the
Egyptian constructions, in spite of the neatness of its workmanship, is
not laid in regular courses, which tends to prove that this
irregularity, which contrasts with the symmetrical system of the
decoration on it, was hidden beneath a coating which covered the whole

These monuments exhibit then the third transition step towards regular
construction in hewn stone.

The construction, though massive and real, is always hidden, and does
not enter yet as an ornamental motive in the compositions of the

It is worthy of observation, that one of the mouldings of Egyptian
architecture seems to be explained by the same ancient custom of
encrusting brick buildings with stone slabs, which we have remarked on
the Assyrian monuments. I allude to the torus moulding which encloses
the external walls of edifices. It served to hide the joints of the
slabs which covered the internal work.

It is certain that the most ancient monuments in Egypt were constructed
in unbaked bricks, which must have been covered with stone slabs in the
manner above indicated. The Pyramids afford us very remarkable examples
of this system of panelling, which is found still perfect in the
sepulchral chambers contained in them, and the traces of which are still
visible on the exterior. The same observation applies to the Palace of
Osirtesen at Karnak, the walls of which are panelled with slabs of
polished red granite, bearing the traces of a transparent coating with
which they were covered.

                              THE CHINESE.

China is a country where architecture has remained stationary from its
early birth, and, consequently, the elementary motives of it are most
distinctly preserved; they are placed side by side, without being
conjoined by a general ruling idea. The external surface of the wall is
still quite independent of the wall itself, and indeed is most
frequently movable. The wall bears its own burden alone, and has only in
view the filling up of the intervals between the wooden columns which
support the third elementary want, (_i. e._) the roof. The wall is only
a screen, more or less solidly executed than others, constructed in
slight brick work, covered externally with painted stucco decoration or
interlaced cane work, and internally with tapestry, or its substitute,
painted paper. The internal divisions are formed by screens of the same
description, and by drapery hung from the ceiling. The design of the
ornament, painted and carved upon them and throughout the building, is
founded on the same principle of interlacings and cane trellis-work,
more or less intricate, and hardly to be recognised through the oddities
of successive fashions. A polychromy, rich and brilliant, prevails,
which has not been considered with that attention which it deserves in
its relation with the ancient style of polychromy.

                              THE INDIANS.

The monuments of Oriental India, bear the impress of a settled
civilisation, at least of the tertiary period. They are comparatively
modern in principle and in date; but they furnish us, nevertheless, with
very important hints on the history of polychromy.

The frequent use of stucco, which is better made in India than anywhere
else, recals the system of the ancients, in covering their fine hewn
stonework with a very fine and hard incrustation of stucco.

The Indian edifices constitute, as it were, but a scaffolding from which
to hang the drapery forming divisions of their spaces, as in China, and
as formerly in Assyria, Egypt, and Greece.

                        THE JEWS AND PHENICIANS.

At present we have only mentioned existing examples; but the ancient
writings furnish us with other no less important matter. The description
of the celebrated Ark of Moses, and of the Tabernacle, taken with that
of the Temple of David, contains a complete history of polychromy. This
curious recital of Jewish antiquities presents us with a progressive
development of that elementary principle of architecture which I term
“the Enclosure.”

The documents and chronicles of other nations furnish us with parallels
to what is contained in the holy writings. The Temple of the Slaves at
Mechlenburg, according to the description of Baron von Rumohr, on the
faith of ancient chroniclers; was constructed in the Oriental fashion,
and richly ornamented with tapestry and gilded wood work.

                              THE GREEKS.

We now come to the Greeks. Hellenic art must have partaken of the
composite character which is manifested in Hellenism generally, and
which is so well expressed in the Grecian mythology.

As the beautiful marble, which forms the cliffs and coasts of Greece,
notwithstanding its homogeneous transformation, betrays by veins, by
fossils, and other indications, its sedimentary origin, so Hellenism,
although it may appear homogeneous, and cast—so to speak—in one single
jet, betrays, nevertheless, its secondary origin, and the sediment which
constitutes its material groundwork.

It would be important to follow up these vestiges of rudimentary
Hellenism, since they might enlighten us on certain phenomena in
Hellenic art, which have been up to the present time inexplicable
without them.

This applies especially to the polychromy of Greek edifices. Much yet
remains to be done in this department of Art History, which has been
generally discussed either by learned men but no artists, or artists
with little learning. The vestiges of rudimentary Hellenism of which I
speak, wherever visible, present the same features that we meet with in
Assyria, Egypt, and China, and even among savage races; but it would
appear that the Greeks, prior to treating in their peculiar manner those
principles of art which they inherited, had partly forgotten their
origin and their material or hieratical meaning. Thus, only, could they
have had the mind free, and ready to commence them anew with an artistic
and poetical feeling.

Exactly the same thing occurred in their mythology, which is only poetic
fiction based on traditions and fables, partly native, partly foreign,
the primitive meaning of which was no longer understood by the poets,
who formed them into the groundwork of their cosmogony.

The system of Greek polychromy is the richest of all those of antiquity;
but it is, apparently, based neither on a principle of construction or
material as among the Assyrians, nor on a hierarchical principle as
among the Egyptians. The most striking oppositions of principle are
found united in it and harmonised, a more artistic and elevated, but
less positive conception. Nevertheless, this applies only to the
edifices of a period when art was in a state of high development among
them, since the ancient Doric system appears to have had much in common
with Egyptian art before it was penetrated by Ionian influence, which
depended rather on Asiatic traditions.

I am convinced that the style of Doric polychromy was essentially
different to that of the Ionic, which was, notwithstanding, of equal
antiquity and originality.

Doric polychromy was based on the Egyptian system, whilst that of Ionia
was based on Asiatic models. The first named was lapidary; the colours
were detached on a whitish or yellowish ground; there was no gilding,
and the use of blue was common, that being the holy colour of the
Egyptians (a turquoise blue), the symbolic colour of the priesthood and

The second was more primitive in its nature and recalled more directly
the elementary motive of _tapestry_ and _embroidery_. The ground was
generally of a rather deep colour, blue or red, even in the constructive
portions, such as the shafts of columns, architraves, &c., a good deal
of gilding and sea-green (prasinum) was used; the favourite colour of
the Assyrians, the symbolic colour of absolutism and of democracy. The
green is still now the holy colour of the successors of the Assyrians in

This difference of style, analogically observable in the music of these
two races, explains the divergent investigations made on the temples of
Sicily, and those of Athens. The monuments of Athens, Doric in their
general appearance partook, nevertheless, a good deal of the Ionic
character. The Ionic mind had penetrated Doric matter, and colour being
the least material was that which the Ionian sentiment most easily

It would be a difficult but very interesting task to unravel the
religious and political signification of certain colours in ancient
times. We know that red, blue, turquoise, and sea-green, were the four
colours by which the factions of the circus distinguished themselves.
These were not capriciously chosen, each faction having adopted that
colour, the symbolic and traditional meaning of which agreed with the
political principles professed by it.

Traces of the antique system of covering construction with tables of
wood, plates of metal, or slabs of stone, representing tapestry-work,
may still be perceived in the Grecian monuments, for those parts of them
which were destined to be ornamented with historical paintings or
painted sculpture, are executed in the Assyrian fashion; as, for
example, the tympanums of the pediments, the metopes, the friezes, the
parts between the columns, and round the walls of the “cella.” It is
thus that Grecian monuments show us the fourth path which architecture
made towards stone style.

The constructive parts of the building, that is to say, those parts
which constituted the entablature of the roof, and its supports, _the
columns_, were painted with the colour of the Greek vases, viz., a very
transparent and vaporous brown-red. The walls, inclusive of the
“_antæ_,” which formed only projecting parts of the walls, were of a
blue, which was broken by black and a little yellow, and not very dark.
This colour formed also the ground for most of the sculptures, except
the metopes, which I believe had red grounds. The red in the ornamented
mouldings was a very bright vermilion, differing from the red of the
ground by colour and treatment.

The same is the case for the blue, which, in the ornamented mouldings,
is deeper than on the large surfaces, and tinted in different shades.
The _oves_, or eggs, for instance, were blue, with a darker blue tint

The green is a colour which occurs frequently on the Athenian temples,
so on the leaves on the moulding which runs under the frieze of the
opisthodome of the temple of Theseus, and between the red and blue
leaves of the capitals of the antæ. The same sea-green occurs on the
draperies of some sculptured figures.

The enamels of wax were frequently covered with washes of thinner
colours. This has not been remarked by our restorers of antique
polychromy, but is nevertheless necessary for giving softness to the
general effect.

The ornaments, as I have just observed, are placed in pieces and
soldered together; the solderings forming fillets slightly elevated from
the surface and of another colour. I cannot say whether in gold, black,
or even in some parts white. I have, for my own part, adopted the
hypothesis that it was gold in the Athenian temples, but not on those of
Sicily where a strict Doric character prevailed.

I have not found many traces of colour on the Ionic temple of Minerva
Polias, and cannot say if the red, which I found on the columns of the
Northern Portico, belonged to the ancient colouring, or was of more
recent date. On the plate, in my work, which gives a panel of the temple
of Theseus, is seen the design of a row of pearls, with a double range
of disks.

I can guarantee the exactitude of my observations, although this extreme
richness and smallness of detail in an object destined to be seen from a
distance may well astonish us.

I have traced every mark on the stones themselves: and, moreover,
subjects of this kind are not capable of being invented; indeed it would
be a great compliment to suppose me capable of inventing these designs,
which I consider charming.

In the portion which I have found in the wall with the niche (see my
work), these details are not to be seen. I have also discovered traces
of colour, very much effaced, on the small choragic Monument of
Lysicrates, which I have carefully examined. It appears that on the
ornament which surmounts the roof, there was a variety of blue and red,
and that the acanthus leaves were coloured green. The tripod was not
placed upon this ornament, but round it, the feet resting on the three
volutes which descend from the roof, analogously to the marble tripods
which are often met with in various museums of antiquities.

I will not speak of the colours of the Parthenon, which are not so well
preserved as those on the Temple of Theseus, but the traces of ornament
which decorated that temple are seen by the incisions still remaining.
It would appear that the system of ornament there applied was similar to
that on the Temple of Theseus.

Some years after my sojourn at Athens, portions of this building have
been excavated, with the colours very well preserved; as well as other
fragments of architecture which belong to the old Hecatompedon
(destroyed by the Persians) covered with painted stucco.

I have not found very decided traces of the colours employed on the
Temple of Minerva Polias; the columns appear to have been red, as at the
Temple of Theseus. The ceiling of the Temple of the Caryatides had
painted frets and orvolos, which I have traced; but the colour was no
longer visible. Traces of painted ornaments are to be found also on the
Tower of the Winds. I have not been able to get a close view of them.

As regards the sculptures, I have found some regularly encrusted with
colour. I have found green (prasinum) on the tunic of one of the seated
goddesses, on the frieze of the Temple of Theseus: another figure was
clad in a vestment of a deep rose colour. The Caryatides of the
Erectheum had blue tunics. We may see that, even on the one in the
British Museum.

Mr. Bracebridge has described statues which were excavated in his
presence near the Parthenon with flesh tints and painted eyes. The
figures of the pediment of the Temple at Egina still retain traces of
the colours with which they were decorated. The same observation applies
to the metopes of the temple at Selinuntum, now at Palermo. Curious
fragments of painted architecture may also be seen at the museums of
Syracuse and Girgenti.

The Romans painted their white marbles, like the Greeks. The three
columns of the Jupiter Stator in the Roman Forum are painted red on that
portion which has remained a long while buried.

The Trajan Column, which I have examined, retains traces of colour and
gilding: the entire column had been once covered with a rather thick
coating of colour, in which I recognised green, blue, and yellow; but it
is probable that this last was the remains of the gilding.



                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
 2. Archaic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings retained as printed.
 3. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.

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