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James Stuart was born in Ludgate Street, London in 1713, and his father died when he was a boy, leaving him to support his mother and siblings. He obtained employment painting fans for Lewis Goupy in the Strand, and the fact that many fans were decorated with views of classical buildings may well have been a crucial factor in shaping Stuart's life. As soon as he was financially able, and having developed skills as a painter and draughtsman, he fulfilled his long ambition to visit Rome to pursue his studies in art. Here he met Nicholas Revett, and together they made plans to visit Athens. They were the first to undertake an exhaustive study of measurements of the classical buildings of Greece, which they carried out during their visit of 1751-1753. The work they published in the 1760s, entitled "The Antiquities of Athens, Measured and Delineated" features views of classical ruins by Stuart, and measured drawings by Revett. It had a profound effect on English architecture, creating a vogue for the Greek classical style which predominated for the rest of the century. It also encouraged further serious study of classical art and antiquities throughout Europe - Stuart and Revett may fairly be said to have been the pioneers of classical archaeology.