Edward Dodwell

Birth: 1767


Edward Dodwell (1767-1832) was an English traveler and archaeologist, born in 1767, was the only son of Edward Dodwell of Moulsey (d. 1828), and belonged to the same family as Henry Dodwell the theologian. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and graduated B.A. in 1800. He had private means and adopted no profession. In 1801 and again in 1805 and 1806 he travelled in Greece, part of the time in company with Sir W. Gell.

He left Trieste in April 1801, and in his first tour visited Corcyra, Ithaca, Cephalonia, &c. Starting from Messina in February 1805 he visited Zakynthus, Patras, Delphi, Lebadeia, Chaeronea, Orchomenus, Thebes, &c. At Athens he obtained access to the Acropolis by bribing the Turkish governor and the soldiers, and acquired the name of 'the Frank of many "paras."' He found vases and other antiquities in several graves opened by him in Attica. He also visited Aegina, Thessaly, and the Peloponnese (including Olympia, Mycenae, Tiryns, and Epidaurus).

He opened tombs near Corinth and procured the well-known 'Dodwell Vase' (with a representation of a boar-hunt on its cover) from a Jew at Corinth. Near Megalopolis he had an encounter with brigands. He had been allowed leave of absence to travel by the government of Bonaparte, in whose hands he was a prisoner, but was compelled to surrender himself at Rome on 18 Sept. 1806. His 'Classical Tour,' describing his travels, was not published till 1819. In Greece, Dodwell made four hundred drawings, and Pomardi, the artist who accompanied him, six hundred.

He collected numerous coins in Greece, and formed during his lifetime a collection of classical antiquities (see Braun, Notice sur le Musee Dodwell, Rome, 1837), including 115 bronzes and 143 vases. All or most of the vases (including the 'Dodwell Vase') went by purchase to the Munich Glyptothek. He also sold to the Crown Prince of Bavaria the remarkable bronze reliefs from Perugia and an archaic head of a warrior. A marble head from the west pediment of the Parthenon was once in Dodwell's possession, but has now disappeared.

From 1806 Dodwell lived chiefly in Italy, at Naples and Rome. He married Theresa, daughter of Count Giraud, a lady who was at least thirty years his junior, and who afterwards married in 1833 the Count de Spaur. Moore says that he saw in society at Rome (October 1819) 'that beautiful creature, Mrs. Dodwell ... her husband used to be a great favorite with the pope, who always called him "Caro Doodle."' Dodwell died at Rome on 13 May 1832 from the effects of an illness contracted in 1830 when exploring in the Sabine mountains. Dodwell visited Greece at a time when it had been but little explored, and his 'Tour,' though diffusely written, and not the work of a first-rate archaeologist, contains much interesting matter. His publications are:

'Alcuni Bassi rilievi della Grecia descritti e pubblicati in viii tavole,' Rome, 1812, fol.

'A Classical and Topographical Tour through Greece,' 2 vols. London, 1819, 4to (a German translation by F. K. L. Sickler, Meiningen, 1821-2).

'Views in Greece, from drawings by E. Dodwell,' coloured plates, with descriptions in English and French, 2 vols. London, 1821, fol.

'Views and Descriptions of Cyclopian or Pelasgic Remains in Greece and Italy ... from drawings by E. D.,' London, 1834, fol. (with French text and title, Paris, 1834, fol.)

[Gent. Mag. 1828, vol. xcviii. pt. ii. p. 573, and 1832, vol. cii. pt. i. p. 649; Dodwell's Classical Tour; Michaelis's Ancient Marbles in Great Britain, 72, 87; Encyclop. Britannica, 9th ed.; Larousse's Dict. Universel, art. 'Dodwell;' T. Moore's Memoirs, iii. 52, 64; South Kensington Mus. Univ. Cat. Works on Art.; Brit. Mus Cat.]


Warwick William Wroth, Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 15. pgs. 178-179

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