The Ruins Of Palmyra, Otherwise Tedmor, In The Desart.

Robert Wood

RA Collection: Book

Record number




London:: Printed In The Year M DCC LIII.

Physical Description

[6], 50 p., 57 [i.e. 59] pl.: [3] illus.; 550 mm. (Broadsheet).

General Note

Plate I consists of three plates - usually bound as separate leaves with the number on the first (as in the RAA copy), but sometimes pasted together and bound as one long folding panorama.


[T.-p.] - The Publisher To The Reader [by Robert Wood] - An Enquiry Into The Antient State Of Palmyra - The Inscriptions - A Journey Through The Desart - [Explication Of The Plates; with pl. I-II]; Errata - [Plates].

Responsibility Note

The plates are signed as drawn by Borra, apart from fifteen which are unsigned by a draughtsman (pl. 1, 2, 11, 17, 20, 27, 31, 36, 37, 39, 45, 46, 52, 53, 57). Most are signed as engraved by P. Fourdrinier, but some as engraved by T.M. Müller Jnr. or I.S. Müller; two are signed as engraved by T. Major (pl. 1, 27). The three unnumbered full-page illustrations (showing inscriptions) are signed as engraved by J. Gibson.


Royal Institute of British Architects, British Architectural Library ... Early printed books, 4 (2002), no. 3707; National Gallery (Washington), Mark J. Millard Architecturall, II (1998), 92; E. Harris and N. Savage, British Architectural Books (1990), 939; Johns Hopkins University, The Fowler Architectural Collection (1961), no. 443.

C.A. Hutton, 'The travels of Palmyra Wood in 1750-51', in Journal of the Hellenic Society, 47 (1927). On Borra see O. Zoller, Der Architekt und der Ingenieur Giovanni Battista Borra , 1713-1770 (1996). On the Greek Revival, J.M. Crook, The Greek Revival (1972, rev. 1995); D. Constantine, Early Greek travellers and the Hellenic ideal (1984); D. Wiebenson, Sources of Greek Revival architecture (1969).
ESTC, T137526

Summary Note

Wood had visited the Greek islands, Syria and Egypt in 1742-3. In 1749 he was in Rome joining forces with John Bouverie, James Dawkins and G.B. Borra in planning their expedition to the east, and sharing enthusiasms with Stuart and Revett, who were planning their own visit to Athens. He returned to Britain in 1751, and published, first The Ruins Of Palmyra (1753), and then The Ruins Of Balbec (1757).

The Ruins of Palmyra was published both in English and in French.

After a short historical introduction, an account of inscriptions and a description of his journey, Wood presents fifty plates surveying the buildings, with details of orders and mouldings, which provide both a carefully measured record and elements for imitation. This survey is interspersed with seven plates of views.

The book was well-received as a handsome and meticulous survey, and set standards for future British archaeological publications.

Borra's drawings for the plates are preserved at the Royal Institute of British Architects, London. His Palmyra sketch-book and some of the travellers' diaries are at the Joint Library of the Hellenic and Roman Societies, London.


An electronic reproduction was published in 2003 (Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale). Microfilm versions were published in 2001 (Woodbridge, Conn.: Primary Source Microfilm [imprint of Thomson Gale]) and 1994 (London: British Library) (Neg. PB.Mic.36481). A reduced-size reprint was published in 1971 (Farnborough, UK: Gregg International) (ISBN 0576153834).


Acquired between 1769 and 1802. Recorded in RAA Library, Catalogue, 1802.

Binding Note

18th-century vellum, upper and lower covers with gilt-tooled borders, gilt-tooled spine, green morocco spine-label lettered 'Ruins Of Palmyra'.

Name as Subject


Architecture - Ruins - Antiquities - Inscriptions, Greek - Inscriptions, Aramaic - Syria - Tadmur - History
British - Archaeology - Expeditions - Syria - Tadmur - History - 18th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century


Giovanni Battista Borra, draughtsman
Paul Fourdrinier, engraver
Johann Sebastian Müller, engraver
Tobias Miller, engraver
Thomas Major ARA, engraver
J. Gibson, engraver