- Museum number
Three preliminary studies for Flaxman's illustrations of Homer's "Iliad"; figures lamenting over the body of Patroclus (Plate 27, "Iliad", 450) and the Hours unloosing the horses of Hera and Athene (Plate 13, "Iliad", VIII, 433). c. 1792-1793
Pen and grey ink, over graphite
- Production date
- 1792-1793 (circa)
Height: 263 millimetres
Width: 191 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The top drawing on this sheet was previously identified as "Trojans lamenting over Hector" ("Iliad", XXIV, 322), and described as depicting women kneeling by the bier, and others standing right at the foot. However, the distinct presence of the curled decoration at either end of the bier on which the body lies seems to link this drawing with Flaxman's imagining of the subject of 'Thetis bringing the Armour to Achilles' as he laments over the body of Patroclus who, in the final engraving, lies on a bier with a very similar form of decoration. Whether the figure leaning over the body at the head of the bed in the BM drawing is therefore meant to be Achilles is uncertain. 1888,0503.22 is another idea for this subject which has been similarly misidentified.
In the final engraving of Plate 13, 'The Hours unloosing the horses of Hera and Athene', the position of the second horse on the right has been reversed so that it faces in the same direction as the two horses on the left. Other preparatory sketches in the collections of the Royal Academy (03/3239) and the Art Institute, Chicago (1919.2137) show the development of this compositional change in Flaxman's process.
Both subjects engraved by Thomas Piroli and published by J Matthews, 441 Strand, January 12th, 1795. The engravings are in the department (reg.no 1973,U.1189[1-40]). This sheet also contains a faint graphite sketch of an unidentified subject.
See the curatorial comment for 1888, 0503.8 for contextual information regarding Flaxman's illustrations to Homer.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1982 Sep-Nov, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, 'Artists in Rome', no. 24
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Iliad
Associated Title: Persians
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Probably Flaxman sale, Christie's, 10.iv.1862/part of lot 165, 15 in the lot, 'The Iliad. "First Thoughts" for the Iliad; numerous beautiful small pen studies for most of the engraved subjects, on fifteen sheets' bt £9-9-0
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number