- Museum number
Thyrsis seated on a bank surprised by a noise, from Milton's 'Comus', mounted in an album of 30 drawings by the Society for the Study of Epic and Pastoral Design; the shepherd half rises from beneath a bower of trees, his musical instrument lying beside him, hilly tree-clad landscape beyond. 4 Oct 1809
Graphite, pen and black and brown ink with brown wash
- Production date
Height: 196 millimetres
Width: 275 millimetres (album size 510x340)
- Curator's comments
- This album of drawings by the Society for the Study of Epic and Pastoral Design contains 39 leaves, onto which are mounted 6 'Subjects', or passages from literature, and 30 drawings illustrating them, by six artists. The leaves are blue paper, bound between boards protected by leather corners and spine and bearing a label tooled in gold with the name of the Society and listing the members. The inside cover bears the bookplate of one of the artists, Francis Stevens. The first leaf and last two are blank.
This Society was formed in 1802 by Francis Stevens with the Chalon brothers and was also known as 'the Chalon Sketching Society'. The membership changed through the years and the last meeting was held in 1851. Sessions took place at the homes of members in turn, and each session's drawings became the property of the host, in this case Francis Stevens (1781-1823). The other five members whose works are mounted in this album are Henry Pierce Bone (1779-1855), Alfred Edward Chalon (1780-1860), John James Chalon (1778-1854), Cornelius Varley (1781-1873) and Thomas Webster (c.1772-1844). The subject chosen for each session was transcribed on a separate piece of paper with the date the session was held. These 'Subjects' are inserted in the album at the beginning of each group. They are passages from Milton's "Comus" (for the session held 4 Oct 1809), Ovid's "Metamorphoses" (15 Nov 1809), the 137th Psalm (20 Dec 1809), Wodhull's translation of Euripides' "Bacchanalians" (24 Jan 1810), Spenser's "Faerie Queene" (28 Feb 1810), and 'Spring' from Thomson's "The Seasons" (4 Apr 1810).
For a history of the various Sketching Societies, see Jean Hamilton, 'The Sketching Society 1799-1851', Victoria and Albert Museum, 1971.
The transcribed passage from Milton's "Comus" illustrated by the first group of drawings in the album begins "This evening late, by then the chewing flocks" and continues for nine lines, ending "And fill'd the air with barbarous dissonance;".
From album 1993,0508.2.1-30
- Not on display
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Comus
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number