Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Pottery: red-figured pelike.
    (a) Peleus seizing Thetis. In the centre Thetis, surprised while bathing, has been seized by Peleus; she crouches to right on the rocky shore, her hair floating back and confined with a broad twisted fillet, in the act of putting on her mantle, within which her left arm is inserted; she turns her head to look at Peleus, who, advancing from left, has grasped her right forearm and left shoulder; he wears a chlamys and petasos of curious form, like a cocked hat; around his right leg a sea monster, one of the transformations of Thetis, is twined, biting it above the knee. Over the group Eros flies down, holding out both hands, as if he were placing a wreath (partly indicated) on the head of Peleus. On the left, on a higher level, Aphrodite seated to left looks down on the central scene, leaning on her left elbow and raising her right hand towards her head as in surprise: her body is enveloped in an himation, and her hair is knotted with a fillet; no trace of a chiton is shown. Beside her, slightly lower to left, a woman (Peitho ?) in a bordered Doric chiton with apoptygma, broad hair-band and earrings, stands, leaning on her left arm and looking to right. On the right of Thetis are three Nereids: one (nearest her) is fully draped in a long chiton, with apoptygma with gilt studs on shoulders, necklace, earrings, and bracelets, and a fillet of which the ends fly loose: she runs to right, but turns, with uplifted right and face in three-quarter aspect, to look at Peleus; at her feet a dolphin plunges to left into the sea. On the right a Nereid crouches to left on a rock, in an attitude balancing that of Thetis: with both hands in her robe she prepares to put it on; around her head is a broad hair-band. Above her, in the background, a third Nereid, in back view and wearing a saccos, runs to right, with right uplifted in surprise and a mantle hanging from her left hand.
    (b) Dionysos, a Satyr and a Maenad. Dionysos, beardless, long wavy hair, wreathed with ivy, is seated to left; with his left elbow resting on a mantle, holding in his right a thyrsos upright; he looks to right at a Maenad, who stands nearly en face, holding a thyrsos upright in her left hand; she looks to left and rests her elbow on the edge of a large tympanon with edging of dots and device of an eight-rayed star; she wears a dress like that of Peitho. On the left a Satyr stands in three-quarter face to right, looking at Dionysos: the position of his right elbow suggests that it is resting against something which is not indicated; the hair over his forehead stands almost upright, with a curve backward suggesting horns.
    Late stage of good period. Gilding on a prepared red surface used for pinions of Eros, cap of Peleus, fillets of Thetis and Aphrodite, and jewellery. White, with markings in light brown, for flesh of Eros and Thetis. The long feathers of Eros' wings are blue: the robe of Thetis sea-green with a broad white edge. Eye in profile. Hair pictorially treated in wavy strokes of black. Body and head of one Nereid in three-quarter back view. Below, sets of four maeanders separated by chequer squares; above a, a row of white dots, broad egg and tongue with white centres, surmounted by egg; above b, egg and dot, surmounted by dot pattern; round the lip, egg; below the handles, an elaborate pattern, one palmette on another.


  • Producer name

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 360BC-350BC
    • 380BC-360BC (circa)
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Ware

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Width: 27.5 centimetres
    • Weight: 4 kilograms
  • Curator's comments

    BM Cat. Vases

    Fine Arts Quarterly, 1864, p. 1 (side a); Salzmann, Necr. de Camire, pl. 59; Rayet and Collignon, p. 255, fig. 96; Jahn, Vasen mit Goldschmuck, p. 17; Wiener Vorlegeblatter, II, pl. 6, fig. 2; Robert, Bild und Lied, p. 23, note 20; Jahrbuch, i. (1886), p. 204, no. 97.
    For Peleus' hat, cf. Baumeister, p. 493, fig. 537: perhaps the καυσία? For the satyr on side b, cf. the similar figure on BM Vase Ε228.


  • Bibliography

    • Vase E424 bibliographic details
    • Williams & Ogden 1994 p. 90 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G20/dc5

  • Exhibition history


    1990 24 Mar-10 Jun, Australia, Canberra, National Gallery of Australia, Civilization: Ancient Treasures from the British Museum, cat. no.80
    1990 28 Jun-23 Sep, Australia, Melbourne, Museum of Victoria, Civilization: Ancient Treasures from the British Museum, cat. no.80

    "Ingres et l'antique", Musee Ingres, Montauban, & Musee de l'Arles, Arles 15.6.06-8.1.07

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Associated events

    • Associated Event: Peleus seizes Thetis
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Greek & Roman Antiquities

  • Registration number


Pottery: red-figured pelike (jar) showing Peleus wrestling with Thetis, who is changing from or into a sea-serpent. Other nymphs stand with her on the shore.

Pottery: red-figured pelike (jar) showing Peleus wrestling with Thetis, who is changing from or into a sea-serpent. Other nymphs stand with her on the shore.

Image description



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Object reference number: GAA6952

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