The Wood Donation

The Wood Diaries and accompanying material were presented by descendants of Robert Wood (1716-71) to the Library of the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies in 1926.


The Donation comprises twenty-eight items, one of which is now missing.  The main part consists of diaries and sketches from a tour of the Levant in 1750-51 made by Wood and three companions (the archaeologists James Dawkins (1722-57) and John Bouverie (c1722-50), who died on the tour, and the Italian draughtsman Giovanni Battista Borra (1712-86)).  In detail, they are as follows:

1 - 6.    6 vols, 24 x 18 cm, in green vellum, gold-tooled. About 1000 pages in all.
These volumes are a transcript by Robert Wood's daughter of the diaries of James Dawkins, covering the period May 5th 1750 - February 6th 1751. They describe the Tour from Naples to Carmel, via Smyrna, Sardis, Thyatira, Pergamum, Sinus Eleaticus, Constantinople, Boursa, Cyzicus, Lampsacus, Troy, Tenedos, Mytilene, Lesbos, Phocaea, Scio, Neomene, Teos, Ephesus, Samos, Meander, Magnesia, Laodicea, Hierapolis, Antioch, Mylassa, Halicarnassus, Cos, Cnidus, Rhodes, Alexandria, Cairo, Pyramids, Acre, Mount Carmel, Nazareth, Capernaum, Tiberias, Nazareth, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Rama.

7.    Notebook, 22 x 18 cm, in marble paper cover. 188 pages.     
A continuation of the transcript, covering February 6th to April 18th 1751 and describing the tour from Carmel to Cyprus via Acre, Tyre, Sidon, Beirut, Damascus, Baalbek and Tripoli.

8.    Unbound notebook, 19 x 13 cm. 112 pages.
The conclusion of the transcript, covering April 18th to June 8th 1751, describing the tour from Stanchio to Porto Leone via Delos, Athens, Marathon, Thermopylae, Chalcis, Thebes, Delphi, Megara and Athens.

9.    Pocket book, 16 x 10 cm, brown leather. About 188 pages (most of second half unused).
Part of the diary of John Bouverie, covering the periods May 25th - June 8th, July 25th - August 3rd and September 7th 1750 (Smyrna to Meander, as above).

10-11.    Two unbound paper fascicles, 22 x 17 cm. 42 and 38 pages respectively (last few pages of vol. 11 blank). 
Part of the diary of Robert Wood, covering September 22nd to October 8th 1750 (11) and May 16th - June 1st 1751 (10).

12.    Pocket book, 16 x 10 cm, brown leather, exactly similar to no.9. About 172 pages.
More of the diary of Robert Wood, covering May 25th to August 19th 1750.

13.    Pocket book, 14 x 8 cm, vellum. 114 pages.
Copies of inscriptions by Robert Wood made during the tour: includes Athens, Baalbek and Palmyra.

14.    Notebook in marble paper cover, 38 x 25 cm. 52 pages, plus 19 leaves of loose inscriptions in paper at rear.
More copies of inscriptions by Robert Wood: includes Greece, Asia Minor and Egypt

15.    Parchment book with flap, 19 x 14 cm. 308 pages.
Sketchbook by Giovanni Battista Borra covering the tour. Sketches are in ink or pencil.

16.    Parchment book with flap, 28 x 22 cm.  About 360 pages (the last 200 are unused).
Another sketchbook in pencil and ink by Borra, covering Naples, Asia Minor and Egypt.

17.    Unbound paper fascicle, 24 x 19 cm. 44 pages.
A third sketchbook by Borra, containing pencil sketches of Palmyra, Damascus etc.

18.     Parchment book, 32 x 21 cm. 136 pages, with a separate fascicle of 48 pages at rear.
Extracts by Robert Wood's daughter from her father's manuscripts, including some that have not come down to the present Donation.

19.    Parchment book with flap, 29 x 23 cm. About 360 pages.
"A universal history" by Robert Wood, almost certainly predating the tour.

20.    WOOD (R.): The ruins of Palmyra and Baalbek.
London: W. Pickering, 1827. Half morocco, 54 x 40 cm.

21.    WOOD (R.):  Les ruines de Palmyre, autrement dite Tedmor au désert.
Paris: Firmin Didot, 1819. Unbound in brown paper cover, 31 x 23 cm.

22.    HOMER: Operum omnium quae exstant. Tomus prior sive Ilias Graece et Latine. Juxta editionem emendatissimam et accuratissimam Samuelis Clarke.
Amsterdam: apud J. Wetstenium, 1743. Bound in vellum with flap, 17 x 10 cm.
Robert Wood's interleaved copy, which he took on the tour, containing both notes and transcripts of inscriptions.

23.    Notebook with card covers, 20 x 14 cm. 358 pages (others have been removed).
Robert Wood's notebook, with extracts from his journals of his 1742-3 visit to the Levant, itineraries from his 1745 visit to Italy, preparatory plans for the 1750-1 Tour and notes on Homer, including a preliminary draft of a book on Homer.

24.    Notebook with marbled paper covers, 22 x 19 cm. 180 pages (first 82 pages only used, written on one side only).
WOOD (R.) Remarks on Homer's plan of Troy in a letter from Rome to James Dawkins Esqr.
A copy of an extended letter from Wood to Dawkins, composed almost certainly in 1755, which is, in effect, a preliminary draft of his "Essay on the Original Genius and Writings of Homer" (item 25, below).

25.    WOOD (R.) An Essay on the Original Genius and Writings of Homer: with a comparative view of the ancient and present state of the Troade.
London: H. Hughs for T.Payne and P. Elmsly, 1775. Full leather (rebacked), 30 x 24 cm. Includes engravings after Borra of Ruins near Troy and a Map of Troas.

26.    BARTHELEMY (l'Abbé)  Reflexions sur l'alphabet et sur la langue dont on se servoit autrefois a Palmyre.
Paris: H.L. Guerin and L.F. Delatour, 1754. Marbled paper covers (front cover detached), 26 x 20 cm.

27.     BAROZZI (Giacomo, called Il Vignola)  Regola delli cinque ordini d'architettura.
Rome: G.B. Rossi, [1620]?  Vellum covers, 18 x 12 cm.

[28.    LAURENBERG (J.)  Graecia antiqua.  Edidit S. Puffendorf. Amsterdam: 1660.]  Now missing.


HUTTON (C.A.) The travels of 'Palmyra' Wood in 1750-51. Journal of Hellenic Studies, 47 (1927) p. 102-128.

SPENCER (T.J.B.) Robert Wood and the problem of Troy in the eighteenth century. Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 20 (1957) p. 75-105.

SIMONSUURI (K.) Homer's original genius: eighteenth-century notions of the early Greek epic (1688-1798).  Cambridge etc.: CambridgeUniv. Press, 1979. p. 133-142.

CONSTANTINE (D.) Early Greek travellers and the Hellenic Ideal. Cambridge etc.: CambridgeUniv. Press, 1984.   Chapter 3 (p. 66-84).

BUTTERWORTH (J.A.) Robert Wood and Troy: a comparative failure. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical                    Studies, 32 (1985) p. 147-154.

BUTTERWORTH (J.A.) The Wood Collection. Journal of Hellenic Studies, 106 (1986) p. 197-200.

EISNER (R.) Travelers to an antique land: the history and literature of travel to GreeceAnn Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press, 1991. p. 72-74.