<< YCBA Home Yale Center for British Art Yale Center for British Art << YCBA Home

YCBA Collections Search

IIIF Actions
Giovanni Battista Borra, 1713–1770, Italian

The Members of a Corinthian Temple in Ruins at Ephesus

Additional Title(s):

Details of a Corinthian Order from the Temple of Ephesus, Probably That of Hadrian

ca. 1750
Gray wash with black and brown ink over graphite on moderately thick, moderately textured, beige laid paper
Sheet: 21 5/16 x 15 3/16 inches (54.2 x 38.5 cm) and Image: 12 3/8 x 8 1/16 inches (31.4 x 20.5 cm)

Inscribed in graphite, upper left: "48 | XXXXII."; in brown ink, upper left: "XLVIII."; within image: labels A-C; in graphite, lower center: "The members of a Corinthian Temple in ruins at Ephesus"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawing & Watercolors-Architectural
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
architectural subject | capitals | caryatids | Corinthian order | entablature | friezes | moldings | ruins | scale (rule) | temple
Associated Places:
Asia | Ege kiyilari | Ephesus | Izmir Ili | Turkey
View by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: The Study Room is open by appointment. Please visit the Study Room page on our website for more details.
IIIF Manifest:

This study of the architectural elements of a Corinthian temple at Ephesus, in modern day Turkey, dates from Giambattista Borra's travels from Robert Wood, (cats. 59, 97). The studies of ancient architectural ruins executed by Borra throughout the course of his journey provided illustrations for Robert Wood's 1753 the Ruins of Palmyra and his 1757 The Ruins of Balebc. This drawing is one of the group of ninety-eight finished drawings in the Center's collection that were intended to illustrate a further publication that was never produced. Attention to ancient architecture was an important part of a gentleman's education. Borra's drawings, engraved and published in Wood's volumes, aided the gentleman in his quest for knowledge and refinement; as Wood himself wrote in The Ruins of Balbec, "we shall…refer our reader almost entirely to the plates, where his information will be more full and circumstantial, as well as less tedious and confused, that could be conveyed by the happiest of language.
The careful study of all aspects of classical building provided the cornerstone of the architect's education. Architects like Borra trained as draftsmen in part to produce carefully measured renderings of ancient ruins. He delineates the details of the Corinthian order and its decoration=, following certain accepted standards such as the rendering o both the bottom and the top the column to indicate its tapering, and he provides a rubric to indicate scale. The depiction of different examples of the classical orders or columns was an important aspect of architectural drawing, as each order had its own particular forms and subsequent uses. The Corinthian, shown here, was one of the more elaborate and fanciful orders. Most architects traveled to view the buildings for themselves, while others had to rely on publications and the drawings of others for the education.

Morna O'Neill

Wilcox, Forrester, O'Neil, Sloan. The Line of Beauty: British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century. Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2001. pg. 140 cat. no. 118

The Line of Beauty : British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century (Yale Center for British Art, 2001-05-19 - 2001-08-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

If you have information about this object that may be of assistance please contact us.