Exterior view of the Amphitheatre, Nimes
Museum Purchase, Lloyd O. and Marjorie Strong Coulter Fund2014.50
Sir John Herschel was one of the most accomplished men of science in nineteenth-century Britain. He was especially famous as an astronomer, but also worked in math, chemistry, and botany. As a meticulous draftsman, he created drawings of botanical specimens, landscapes, and the built environment, often aided by the use of an optical device known as a camera lucida. This drawing depicts the ancient Roman amphitheater in Nimes, France. Built in the 1st or 2nd century CE, it is one of the best-preserved Roman ruins in France and was a frequent destination for artists and travelers on the Grand Tour including Thomas Jefferson, who visited Nimes in 1787.