Matthew Dubourg

Views of the Remains of Antient Buildings in Rome, and its Vicinity (London, 1820)

(Thomas Phillips, 1845)

There is little information about Dubourg; the dates of his birth and death are unknown, and even his Christian name is not well attested. He may have been responsible for the Descriptive Catalogue of Dubourg's Exhibition, No. 67. Lower Grosvenor Street. Large models made of Cork, done by Scale, representing some of the most superb Remains of Roman Magnificence ([London], 1803) - if that publication is not too early. He is known to have contributed coloured aquatints to Thomas Williamson, The European in India (London, 1813) and to J.F.Dove, A Picture of St Petersburg (London, 1815), as well as two plates (after drawings by Pugin) to Edward Wedlake Brayley, Illustrations of Her Majesty's Palace at Brighton (London, 1838) and the engravings for Barbara Anne Townshend's delightfully named Sibyl-Leaves, or, Drawing Room Scraps: consisiting of Groups of Figures, Flowers, Roses, Birds, Butterflies &c: presenting a Variety of Studies in the Art of cutting Black Paper, for the Instruction and Amusement of Young Ladies (London, 1836). Views in Romeseems to be the first book which he produced entirely on his own; it consists of 26 aquatints 'with a Descriptive and Historical Account of Each Subject'. He was also responsbile for Notable Bridges. A Collection of Engravings of Bridges, showing Construction and Specifications(London, 1825).

In his Introduction to Views in Rome Duboug claims that 'the historical and descriptive sketches which accompany these views have been derived from the most recent, and probably the most judicious authorities', and he ends with an appeal to the authority of Piranesi (though his views are in fact quite different from those of the great Venetian): ' is presumed there cannot be offered to the public a work more interesting or more worthy of its patronage, than a selection of Views of Temples, Baths, Triumphal Arches, and other magnificent remains of Roman buildings, from the works of the justly celebrated PIRANESI.'

Shown above is Plate XXII 'The Temple of Pallas. The description runs:

The remains of this fine Temple are in a very decayed state, and half buried in the earth. They have been converted into the facade of a miserable dwelling. The columns are fluted, and of the Corinthian order; they sustain an entablature richly ornamented and beautifully executed; the basso-relievos in the frieze represent the arts of PALLAS, of whom there is a figure in the basso-relievo in the Attic.This Temple is said to have been erected by DOMITIAN. It stood in the Forum of Nerva.

What is pictured is not the temple of Minerva (Pallas) (which stood in the centre of Nerva's forum), but part of the forum's South East flanking wall, still sometimes known by its popular Italian name 'le Colonnacce', which formed the entrance to Vespasian's Temple of Peace. Wightwick [cf. no.9]is aware of this in his description of the same construction in his plate 3, though he still entitles that plate 'Remains of the Temple of Pallas'.