In October 1805, Edward Dodwell came across another giant statue in the Greek landscape. This colossal marble lion, its legs broken, lay undisturbed in the mountains of Hymettos. But it must have been too desirable to be left there for travellers to come upon, and was eventually removed to a museum in Athens before ending up by the chapel of Agios Nikolaus at Kantza. I have looked this place up online and all I can find is one tiny photograph of the lion, caged behind white railings. I wonder how many people ever go to see it there? The painting Doswell made can be seen in the British Museum's 'In Search of Classical Greece: Travel Drawings of Edward Dodwell and Simone Pomardi 1805–1806'. The centrepiece of this exhibition is a panorama of Athens, seen from the Hill of the Muses, near the Monument to Philopappos (where, incidentally, Giovanni Battista Lusieri was also sketching that year, as I mentioned in a previous post). Athens then was little more than a village at the base of the Acropolis; in 1999 we found a polluted urban sprawl and taxi drivers unwilling to stop for us. It is easy to imagine urbanisation overtaking the 'lone and level sands' round the broken statue of Shelley's Ozymandius, his great shattered head with its 'wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command' long since gone, removed and lost to view in some unvisited suburb.
Edward Dodwell, Lion near Hymettos, looking north towards Mount Pentele, 1805