The finest Ionic building on the Acropolis, this temple, now known as the Erectheion, was begun circa 420 BC. Its site was considered especially sacred as it was said to include the tomb of Cecrops, in Greek legend the founder of Athens. The French name used by the photographer derives from the fact that in addition to other altars it housed a shrine to Athena (Minerva) Polias. Erechtheus was a mythical king of Athens. The many sacred places it covered on the Acropolis account to some extent for its complex plan in comparison with other temples there, and although of considerable importance it was built on low lying ground in order not to distract from the prominence of the Parthenon. It is best recognised today by the caryatids which support the roof of the south porch. The heavily restored west end now has an extra column at the end to complete the symmetry of the original façade, but here, as in the photograph of the Parthenon, it is obvious that little restoration had occurred before this daguerreotype was made. The large, precariously balanced, stone slabs resting on the entablature hint at the possible dangers awaiting those exploring the site at this time, particularly if laden with cumbersome photographic equipment.
There are five whole-plate daguerreotypes of the Erechtheion in the photographer's archive. One other is a close variant of this view.