Thomas Ashby

(1874—1931) archaeologist

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(b Staines, 14 Oct 1874; d nr Raynes Park, Surrey, 15 May 1931).

English archaeologist and collector. He began his study of Classical archaeology at Winchester; his father moved to Rome in 1890, and during holidays they explored the Campagna with the archaeologist Rodolfo Lanciani. Having read Classics at Christ Church, Oxford (1898), he became the first student at the British School at Rome in 1901 and its director in 1906. His earliest articles, on the topography of the aqueducts and roads of Rome and the Campagna, were later developed into books. Tomassetti listed 323 publications (including excavation reports) by Ashby on the Campagna, many of them pioneering works. Ashby’s studies of 16th-century and later drawings of Roman monuments include his publication (1904, 1913) of the Coner Sketchbook (London, Soane Mus.), while his interest in Renaissance collections of ancient statues enabled him to identify works that had once stood in the Villa d’Este at Tivoli (1908) and led him to produce a bibliographical analysis of the engravings by Giovanni Battista de Cavalieri and his followers (1920). Retiring from the British School in 1925, he completed his and S. B. Platner’s Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome (1929). He died by falling from a train while on his way to Oxford. Ashby’s substantial collection of prints and drawings, mostly topographical views of Rome and the Campagna, is now in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Rome.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Classical Art and Architecture in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Architecture.

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