Stonehenge, General View From (G) On The Line Of The Central Entrance
Photographer: Ordnance Survey Department, under Colonel Sir Henry James
Medium: Photographic print
View of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, with a Victorian group in the centre, taken by the Ordnance Survey Department under Colonel Sir Henry James. The image is one of eight photographs of the megalithic monument illustrating Colonel James’ 1867 book ‘Stonehenge, Turusachan and Cromlechs’, and was published as plate 10. The book also includes accounts, sketches and plans of other ancient monuments including a stone circle on the Island of Lewis and four Irish cromlechs. James' intention was to give “...examples of the megalithic structures of this kingdom, all of which should be sketched and described by the officers on the Ordnance Survey, to form a record of the existence and state of preservation of these objects at the date of the National Survey”. The survey of Britain was completed in 1870.
In his text James attributes the construction of Stonehenge to the Druids and explores their history and culture in England and Gaul before the Roman conquest. He refers to the Ancient Greek historians Diodorus and Hecateus, who wrote of a “renowned temple of a round form, beautified by many rich gifts” on an island known as “the island of the Hyperboreans…beyond the place from which the north winds came”. He concluded “I incline to the belief, held by many writers, that the island here referred to could be no other than Britain, and that this celebrated temple of a round form is no other than Stonehenge”.