- Museum number
Drawing from an album, a study for the ceiling of the Fourth State Room at Boughton House; Jupiter restraining Arcas from shooting at his mother, the bear Callisto, the Four Elements in the corner, and two signs of the Zodiac (a set of scales and a scorpion)
Brush drawing in grey wash, over black chalk, touched with white, on grey paper
- Production date
Height: 455 millimetres
Width: 485 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- From album 1953,1021.11.1-126
Stainton & White 1987
According to Vertue (III, p. 28), the 10th Earl of Derby (1664-1735/6), "a great admirer of Cherons drawings", formed a large collection, acquiring "most of his fine drawings he did in Italy after Raphael" a few years before the artist's death, for which he was said to have paid the considerable sum of £500, and another group of seventy-two drawings from Chéron's sale held in 1726, for which he paid 265 guineas.
Chéron's most important early commission in England was for the decoration of nine rooms in the newly built north range at Boughton, the principal country seat of his patron, Ralph Montagu, 1st Earl of Montagu. He probably began work at Boughton shortly after he arrived in England in 1693, perhaps finishing by the autumn of 1695 when William III visited the house. The present drawing, a study for the ceiling of the Fourth State Room, is one of a group of preliminary sketches for Boughton in the Museum's album. The subject is taken from Ovid, 'Metamorphoses', II, 496-505; Callisto, seduced by Jupiter, gives birth to a son, Areas, but is turned into a bear by the enraged Juno. Fifteen years later, while hunting in the Arcadian forests, Areas is unknowingly about to kill his mother, when Jupiter restrains him. In the final painting (which differs somewhat from this preliminary sketch), Chéron includes the next episode in the narrative, where Jupiter transforms Callisto into a star to preserve her from the jealous Juno. At the corners of the composition Chéron places the Four Elements, and also represents various signs of the zodiac, including Scorpio and Libra.
The State Rooms were once said to be by Verrio, but Chéron's authorship of all the ceilings, with the possible exception of that in the Fifth State Room, is confirmed both by their style and by the drawings now in the British Museum, which are undoubtedly by him. Further confirmation is provided by a recently discovered manuscript travel journal (Friedman and Linstrum, op. cit.), compiled by an unidentified visitor to Boughton in 1724, who included a note that "The Hall & all the Cielings are nobly painted by Charron a Frenchman, as also the rich Cornishes of the rooms, the Salloon & Staircase".
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1987 June-Aug, BM Hilliard to Hogarth no.172
1987 Sept-Nov, New Haven, Hilliard to Hogarth
2020 4 Feb-19 Apr, London, Tate Britain, British Baroque: Power and Illusion
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Stainton & White 1987
From an album of drawings by Chéron assembled by James, 10th Earl of Derby; by family descent; Edward, 18th Earl of Derby (sale, Christie, 19 October 1953, lot 1)
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number