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print study / drawing

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1888,0503.4

  • Description

    A sheet of preliminary sketches for Flaxman's illustrations titled "The Tragedies of Æschylus", two subjects from the Persae; at top, the Dream of Atossa, (Plate 29, Persians, 197), Xerxes fallen from the chariot with Darius bending over him in pity, below, the Persians slain by the Greeks, who hurl rocks and darts from above (Plate 30, Persians, 460) and at bottom a faint graphite sketch of Cassandra prophesying
            Pen and grey ink, over graphite on Italian(?) watermarked paper with a dove, holding an olive branch in its beak and standing atop three monti, within a circle

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  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1793 (circa)
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 261 millimetres
    • Width: 190 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Verso: inscribed: "Aeschylus / Persae, Pl 29,30"
  • Curator's comments

    The pentimenti in the drawing for 'The Dream of Atossa' shows Flaxman experimenting with different figural positionings before going over his drawing with pen and ink. This drawing is very close to that in the collection of the RA (03/3469) with only minor variations in composition, though the latter is much more finished than the former. The BM design for 'The Defeat of the Persians' is much less realised than that in the RA, particularly in terms of the mass of Greeks in the top right attacking the Persians, whose heads are indicated by the roughest of pen strokes. In the final engraving their means of attacke - boulders and arrows - are clearly articulated.

    Engraved by Thomas Piroli and published by J Matthews, 441 Strand, Jan 12, 1795. Title page states: "The original drawings in the possession of the Countess Dowager Spencer".
    See the curatorial comment for 1888,0503.27 for further information about Flaxman's illustrations to Æschylus.

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  • Bibliography

    • Binyon 1898-1907 21(a) bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British Roy PIV)

  • Exhibition history

    1977/8 Oct-Jan, Hamburger Kunsthalle, 'Flaxman', no. 301

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Associated titles

    • Associated Title: Persians
    • Associated Title: Tragedies of Æschylus
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1888

  • Acquisition notes

    Probably Flaxman sale, Christie's, 11.iv.1862/part of lot 370, 19 in the lot, 'Illustrations to Aeschylus. First Thoughts: a collection of numerous small designs for nearly all the engraved subjects - in pen and blacklead on nineteen sheets' bt £9-9-0

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number

    1888,0503.4

Two of the preliminary sketches for the 'Tragedies of Æschylus', two subjects from the Persae; Xerxes I falling from his chariot (Plate 29, Persians, 197), while Darius bends over him in pity, the Persians slain by the Greeks, who hurl rocks and darts from above (Plate 30, Persians, 460) Pen and grey ink, over graphite

Recto

Two of the preliminary sketches for the 'Tragedies of Æschylus', two subjects from the Persae; Xerxes I falling from his chariot (Plate 29, Persians, 197), while Darius bends over him in pity, the Persians slain by the Greeks, who hurl rocks and darts from above (Plate 30, Persians, 460) Pen and grey ink, over graphite

Image description

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