- Museum number
Study for 'Mercury's Message to Calypso', an illustration by Flaxman to Homer's "Odyssey"; Hermes visiting Calypso ("Odyssey", V, 85), with small studies for the figure of Calypso. c. 1792-1805
Pen and grey ink, over graphite on Italian paper watermarked 'PIETRO MILIANI FABRIANO'
Verso: Several slight sketches of seated figures
- Production date
- 1792-1805 (circa)
Height: 207 millimetres
Width: 273 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This subject was plate 8 (P&D 1973-U-1188 (9), engraved by James Neagle) in the 1805 edition. It was accompanied by the following verse: "God of the golden wand! On what behest, / arriv'st thou here, an unexpected guest." In the final engraving Flaxman resolved the rather awkward and almost-anatomically impossible action of Calypso adjusting her drapery present in this drawing, depicting her rather facing Mercury directly with her arms crossed over her chest. He also developed her drapery, giving it a more detailed pattern.
The paper used by Flaxman for this study is watermarked PIETRO MILANI FABRIANO, suggesting that it was made by Cartiere Miliani Fabriano which, in 1782, was created by the merging of a number of small paper-making mills in Fabriano. Fabriano (between Urbino and Perugino) is claimed to be the oldest active papermaking town in Europe.
See the curatorial comment for 1888,0503.8 for contextual information regarding Flaxman's illustrations to Homer.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1972 Sep-Nov, Council of Europe, London, 'Age of Neo-classicism', no.573
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Odyssey
- 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