We present a simple model for the formation of elliptical galaxies, based on a binary clustering hierarchy of dark matter, the chemical enrichment of the gas at each level being controlled by supernovae. The initial conditions for the non-linear phases of galaxy formation are set by the post-recombination power spectrum of density fluctuations. We investigate two models for this power spectrum - the first is a straightforward power law, |δ
|2 ∝ k
, and the second is Peeble's analytic approximation to the emergent spectrum in a universe dominated by cold dark matter. The normalisation is chosen such that on some scale, say M ∼ 1012
⊙, the objects that condense out have properties - radius and velocity dispersion - resembling ‘typical’ galaxies. There is some ambiguity in this due to the poorly determined mass-to-light ratio of a typical elliptical galaxy — we look at two normalisations, σ1D
∼ 350kms−1 and σ1D
∼ 140kms−1. The choice determines which of Compton cooling or hydrogen cooling is more important during the galaxy formation period. The non-linear behaviour of the perturbations is treated by the homogeneous sphere approximation.