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The Trustees of the British Museum
William Sharp (1749-1824) after Wilson
c. 1787 (undated)
Pen and black ink, over graphite, on brown oiled paper, squared for transfer
125 x 370 mm (irregular)
4 7/8 x 14 9/16 in. (irregular)
Niobe and eleven of her children are shown at the height of the attack on them by Apollo and Artemis. Two of her sons attempt to flee on horeback behind at the left.
Purchased from: A E Evans & Sons, 1 Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, 1853
Unsigned; no inscription
The subject derives from Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book 6, lines 144-312. Niobe, daughter of Tantalus and Queen of Thebes, is punished for having dared to suggest, because she had seven sons and seven daughters, that she was superior to the goddess Leto (or Latona). Apollo and Artemis, children of Leto, killed all of Niobe's offspring in revenge and she herself wept until she was turned into stone.
D355 Recumbent Male Nude, National Museum Wales, Cardiff (NMW A 1885)
E52 William Sharp and Samuel Smith after Wilson, Niobe , 1788, National Museum Wales, Cardiff
E54 William Sharp and Samuel Smith after Wilson, Niobe , 1792, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, USA (B1977.14.14569) and other impressions
E58 William Sharp and Samuel Smith Niobe, 1803, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (1577/3) and other impressions
E79/1 Samuel Lacey after Wilson, Niobe, c.1836, The British Museum
E86 William James Linton after Wilson, Destruction of the Children of Niobe, The British Museum
William Sharp was responsible for the figures in the prints E52, E54 and E58. This is his preliminary drawing for the group prior to transfer to the plate.
Badly stained in several places. Tear upper left.