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Meleager and Atalanta
Royal Academy of Arts, London
William Woollett (1735-1785) and Benjamin Thomas Pouncy after Wilson
Meleager and Atalanta
Published 21 May 1794
Etching and engraving
390 X 533 mm
15 3/8 x 21 in.
A wild landscape with a castle and aqueduct in the distance is shown before a stormy sky. In a clearing by a waterfall a group of men surround an enormous boar and Meleager, on horseback, drives a spear into it. His colleague, Anceus, lies fallen and Atalanta, with two female attendants, aims an arrow at the beast from the far left.
London 2012 (unnumbered)
Purchased from Thomas Cadell the younger's executors, 27 March 1844
Lettered below the image:
[1] Upper left: Landskip painted by R. Wilson Figures by Mr Mortimer
[2] Upper right: Engraved by W. Woollett & B. Pouncy.
[3] Centre: MELEAGER and ATALANTE. See Ovids Metamors. Book VIII Pa. 54 |
[4] Lower centre: Engraved from the Original Picture in the Possession of James Sayer, Esqr.
[5] Lower centre, publication line: Published 21st. May 1794, by LAURIE & WHITTLE, 53 Fleet Street, London.
The subject is taken from the Roman poet, Publius Ovidius Naso (20 March 43 BC - AD 17/18) known as Ovid. The lovers Meleager and Atalanta killed a huge boar sent by the goddess Diana to devastate the countryside of Calydon. Meleager presented the hide to Atalanta but his uncles, the sons of Thestius, took it from her, whereupon he killed them, leading to his own death (Metamorphoses Book VIII, lines 260-546).
D167 Study of an antique Altar, Victoria & Albert Museum, London (Dyce.661)
E23 Richard Earlom after Wilson, Meleager and Atalanta, 1771, The British Museum (2006,U.403) and other impressions
E46 William Woollett and Benjamin Pouncy after Wilson, Meleager and Atalanta, 1779, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (B1977.14.14568) and other impressions
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P163 Meleager and Atalanta, Tate, London
NWD406 Ascribed to John Hamilton Mortimer after Wilson, Meleager and Atalanta
The first recorded owner of P163, was the print and map publisher, Robert Sayer, who commissioned Richard Earlom to produce a mezzotint after the painting, published in 1771 (E23). Sayer went on to publish a second engraving (E46) by Woollett and Pouncy in 1779 and his successors from 1793, Laurie and Whittle, published the present one by the same printmakers in 1794 - all testaments to the enduring popularity of the subject. In 1779 Sayer paid John Hamilton Mortimer to replace some of Wilson's figures with his own, to the understandable annoyance of Wilson. Probably at the latter's insistence the distinction between the artists was recorded in the lettering of later states of E46 as well as the present print.
Booth Notes Doc. 4; Booth Notes Doc. 7
Bound in a 19th century volume with Charles Hullmandel's lithographic 24 Views of Italy, 1818
Conserved 2012 by Emma Cox