Athens in its Flourishing State

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Athens in its Flourishing State
Athens in its Flourishing State
Athens in its Flourishing State
The Trustees of the British Museum
title=Credit line
Benjamin Pouncy after Wilson
Athens in its Flourishing State
c.1782 (undated)
Etching and engraving
Metric: 467 x 573 mm (trimmed)
Imperial: 18 3/8 x 22 9/16 in. (trimmed)
Accession Number
Wilson Online Reference
According to Ralph Willett, 'Learning is represented in its most flourishing state; a Group of Philosophers are sacrificing to Minerva, just before her temple; in the Portico of which are several others in various Conversation; on the left ... is a statue of Theseus. Across the Bay of Athens, on which are several Grecian Vessels (one is in the Fore-ground, waiting to carry back the Philosophers), is the City, adorned with the most magnificent Buildings, Triumphal arches, &c. The Temple of the Winds, on a little Eminence, surrounded with Trees, fills up the middle Ground; and a delightful Country, the distance.'
Acquired before 1837
Lettered below the image with the title: 'ATHENS in its FLOURISHING STATE' and 'Ralph Willett inv. | Richd. Wilson pinx. | B.T. Pouncy sculp.'
Related Paintings
P180 Athens in its flourishing State, Private Collection, England
Related Works by Other Artists
NWE49 Benjamin Pouncy after Solomon Delane Athens in its Present State of Ruin, The British Museum
Critical commentary
The final state of the print is the last illustration but two (unpaginated) in Ralph Willett's folio A Description of the Library at Merly, London, 1785, where it is additionally lettered lower left: 'Ralph Willett inv. Richd. Wilson pinx.' . The original painting is P180 and was part of a decorative scheme - a relatively rare occurrence in Wilson's oeuvre. Other examples include the four paintings commissioned by Henry Blundell for Ince Hall (P71A, P119, P127 and P142) and the four commissioned by Sir William Young for Standlynch (see P57A). According to earlier text in the Description ... the composition was devised by Ralph Willett from a stucco relief designed by James 'Athenian' Stuart.
Ralph Willett, A Description of the Library at Merly, London, 1785, pp. 35-36; Proposals for publishing by Subscription a Series of Prints, that illustrate the Rise and Progress of Civilization and of Knowledge, as founded on Religion [ ...] in the Library of Ralph Willett, Esq., at Merley, in Dorset, n.d. [1785], p. 3, no. 24; A Description of the Library at Merly [...] / Description de la Bibliothèque de Merly [...], 1785, p. 13 and preceding illustration; T. Knox, 'A mortifying Lesson to human Vanity: Ralph Willett's Library at Merly House, Dorset', Apollo, vol. 152, July 2000, pp. 38-45
Link to WG Constable Archive Record
Updated by Compiler
2021-06-14 00:00:00