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The Temporary Elgin Room, 1819

Photo credit: The Trustees of the British Museum

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This painting shows an idealised view of the Temporary Elgin Room at the Museum in 1819, with portraits of staff, a trustee and visitors. The room was designed by the Museum’s architect, Robert Smirke, for the temporary display of the sculptures from the Parthenon brought from Athens by Lord Elgin, purchased by the Government and deposited in the British Museum in 1816. The donor, Dr J. E. Gray, Keeper of Zoology, 1840–1874, identified those present from personal recollection.

British Museum





oil on canvas


H 94 x W 132.7 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift from Dr John Edward Gray, 1872

Work type


Inscription description

The artist, Archibald Archer is seated at the right hand corner of the painting, his name on the portfolio at his feet. The date [1819] appears in the lower left hand corner.


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British Museum

Great Russell Street, London, Greater London WC1B 3DG England

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