An astonishing daguerreotype, especially for 1842, this whole-plate image is one of the most 'modern' in the photographer's entire oeuvre. It shows the remains of the once large Temple of Olympian Zeus or Olympieion, one of the most important monuments on the Acropolis. Finally completed in 132 AD during the rule of the Roman emperor Hadrian, the original design had the interior protected by a colonnade of 104 Corinthian columns, of which by 1842, only these few remained. Excavations around the temple from the 1880s onwards began to reveal the stepped base, which is barely visible in this first view.
Only two photographs of this temple survive in the archive, each a whole-plate daguerreotype. According to the sequential reference numbers of Girault de Prangey this photograph was taken immediately following the view of the Parthenon included in this sale (see lot 11). These results surely indicate a day or two of quite exceptional creativity, by any standards.