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Niobe
National Museum Wales, Cardiff
William Sharp (1749-1824) and Samuel Smith (1745-1810) after Wilson
Niobe
Published March 1788
Etching and engraving
515 x 693 mm
20 1/4 x 27 1/4 in.
NMW A 11416
E52
Eleven of Niobe's children are killed in a stormy setting, whose horror is emphasised by trees broken or bent with the wind, lightning, tumultuous seas and a lurid sky.
Purchased from from Isaac John Williams, 1917
Scratched below the image:
[1] Upper left: Painted by Rd. Wilson
[2] Upper centre: The figures by W. Sharp
[3] Upper right: Etched by S. Smith March 1788
[4] Centre: Arms of Sir George Beaumont [lacking motto]
[1] Pencil upper left: 17a [?]
[2] Pencil lower right: 17a [?]
[1] Recto lower centre, pencil: Arms of Beaumont + ______
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)
NWD400 Samuel Sharp after Wilson Niobe, The British Museum
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
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P90B The Destruction of Niobe's Children, ex-National Gallery; destroyed 1944
P90D Studio of Wilson, Apollo destroying the Children of Niobe, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
P90E The Destruction of Niobe's Children, Collection of Richard L. Feigen & Co
William Sharp was responsible for the figures. The arms of Sir George Beaumont in the dedication indicate that the print was executed after P90B rather than any other version of the subject.
Old Accession Number: 17.111
1917.2 Purchase
W.S Baker, William Sharp, Engraver, with a descriptive Catalogue of his Works, Philadelphia 1975, 82, no. 113 (1)
A good impression. Some staining especially at upper centre. Repaired vertical tear lower right and horizontal at centre of left edge. The lower edge is trimmed to the platemark.