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The Trustees of the British Museum
title=Credit line
John Henry Wright after Wilson
Published 2 March 1813
Etching and engraving
Metric: Image size: 130 x 179 mm
Imperial: Image size: 5 1/8 x 7 in.
Accession Number
Wilson Online Reference
Niobe is seated in a clearing below the rocks in an overcast landscape, her arm around her youngest daughter, looking up and defying Latona as the latter's son, Apollo, avenges the Theban Queen's boast that she was richer in her fourteen children than the goddess in her two. Apollo draws his bow to strike down another of the children, some of whom are grouped near their mother, dead, grieving and dying, while two try, in vain, to flee on horseback across a bridge to the right.
Edward Daniell, 53 Mortimer Street, Cavendish Square, London, from whom purchased, 1860
Lettered above the image: 'MARQUIS OF STAFFORD'S COLLECTION. | Class the Sixth NIOBE Schools of Great Britain | 4 '
Lettered below the image, left: 'R. Wilson, RA.'; centre: 'STAFFORD GALLERY'; right: 5.7 3/4 by 4.0 1/2 | 'Drawn by W.M. Craig Engraved by I. H. Wright | LONDON | Published March 2. 1813, by Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown, J. White, Cadell & Davies; & P.W. Tomkins, 54, New Bond Street.
The subject was inspired by 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 Paintings
P90A The Destruction of the Children of Niobe, Private Collection at Ashridge, England
Critical commentary
The 'Stafford Gallery' had as its full title: 'Engravings of the Most Noble the Marquis of Stafford's Collection of Pictures in London: Arranged According to Schools and in Chronological Order with Remarks on Each Picture'. This collection was formed by the 3rd Earl of Bridgewater, augmented by George Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st Duke of Sutherland and housed at Cleveland House in London. It was opened to the public in 1806. The related publication was undertaken by W. Y. Ottley and P. W. Tomkins, and issued in four volumes, 1810-1818, by Tomkins; Longman, Hurst, Rees & Orme; J White & Co. and Cadell & Davies, with illustrations engraved by Tomkins, Fittler, Romney, Heath and others, from drawings by W M Craig. The book also included plans of the 13 rooms of the gallery, showing the location of each picture.
W.Y. Ottley, Engravings of the Most Noble the Marquis of Stafford's Collection of Pictures in London ... , vol 4, London 1818, p. 141, no. 4
Updated by Compiler
2017-11-24 00:00:00