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Compositions From The Tragedies of Aeschylus, Designed By Iohn Flaxman, Engraved By Thomas Piroli, And Frank Howard.

RA Collection: Book

Record number



London,: Publish'd April 15th. 1831,, by Miss Flaxman, & Miss Maria Denman, 74, Upper Norton Street, Fitzroy Square.

Physical Description

36 pl. (incl. title-pl. and add. t.pl.); 274×421 mm.

Responsibility Note

No plate is signed, apart from the four new ones by Frank Howard, which are signed as engraved by him (pl. 4, 10, 12, 23).

Each plate carries the publishers' imprint of M. Flaxman and M. Denman (that is, Flaxman's sister and sister-in-law), and the date (April 15th. 1831).


G.E. Bentley, The early engravings of Flaxman's classical designs: a bibliographical study (1964).

See the bibliographic note on Compositions From The Tragedies Of Aeschylus Designed By Iohn Flaxman (1795).

Summary Note

The added title-plate (pl.2), as well as having a slightly different design, omits the words 'And Frank Howard'.

The thirty-four illustrations (pl.3-36) comprise six for Prometheus, six for Suppliants, four for Seven Chiefs, four for Agamemnon, five for Choephorœ; five for Furies, four for Persians. Each has a caption identifying characters and quoting from the play in English (the translator not named). In this edition four engravings by Frank Howard are added to the thirty originally engraved by Piroli - one for Prometheus (pl.4), two for Suppliants (pl. 10, 12) and one for Choephorœ (pl.23).

Howard's engraving for Prometheus Chain'd (pl.4) is remarkably similar to an earlier engraving by Piroli (pl.3), but it follows more faithfully the original drawing. One of Howard's engravings for the Suppliants (pl. 12) retains something of the 'primitivism' which Flaxman pursued in some drawings - in this case representing statues of gods in a way which reveals knowledge of 6th-century archaic Greek imagery.

Flaxman's outline illustrations for ancient Greek authors and Dante 'in the style of antient art' were influential throughout Europe, and often reprinted in Britain and elsewhere during the artist's lifetime and afterwards. The Aeschylus illustrations were reprinted again in Britain in 1870 and 1879.

Twenty-eight of Flaxman's original drawings for Aeschylus may be seen at the Royal Academy.

Binding Note

19th-century marbled-papered boards, rebacked and recornered in calf in 1988; black morocco spine-label lettered 'Compositions From The Tragedies Of Aeschylus', spine lettered '1831'. Bound with one other.

Name as Subject


Greek drama
Drawings, British - 18th century - Neoclassical
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 19th century


John Flaxman RA, source artist
Tommaso Piroli, ca.1752-1824, engraver
Mary Ann Flaxman, publisher
Miss Maria Denman, publisher
Frank Howard, engraver