National Museum Wales, Cardiff
title=Credit line
William Sharp (1749-1824) and Samuel Smith (1745-1810) after Wilson
Published March 1788
Etching and engraving
Metric: 515 x 693 mm
Imperial: 20 1/4 x 27 1/4 in.
Accession Number
NMW A 11416
Wilson Online Reference
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]
Verso inscriptions
[1] Pencil upper left: 17a [?]
[2] Pencil lower right: 17a [?]
Mount inscriptions
[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.
Related Drawings
D355 Recumbent Male Nude, National Museum Wales, Cardiff (NMW A 1885)
NWD400 Samuel Sharp after Wilson Niobe, The British Museum
Related Prints
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
See 'Links' tab
Related Paintings
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
Critical commentary
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.
Previous Cat/Ref Nos
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.