The Iliad Of Homer Engraved From The Compositions Of Iohn Flaxman R·A· Sculptor, London.

RA Collection: Book

Record number



London:: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees & Orme, Paternoster Row, R.H. Evans, Pall Mall, W. Miller, Albemarle Street, & I. & A. Arch, Cornhill,, March 1. 1805.

Physical Description, 39 pl.; 259×412 mm.

Responsibility Note

Plates 1, 2, 5 are signed as engraved by Blake; 3, 4, 6-13, 15-36, 38, 39, as engraved by Piroli; 14 and 37 as engraved by Parker.


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

On Flaxman's Homer see Flaxman: la difusion del modelo clasico: Homero, Esquilo, Hesiodo, Dante [exhibition catalogue] (1996); R.N. Essick, Flaxman's illustrations to Homer (1977). On his outline drawings generally see the bibliographic note on Compositions From The Tragedies of Aeschylus Designed By Iohn Flaxman (1795).

On Homeric subjects in art see the bibliographic note on F. Inghirami's Galleria Omerica (1831).

Summary Note

The engravings of Flaxman's Iliad compositions had first been published in June 1793 in London (The Iliad Of Homer Engraved By Thomas Piroli From The Compositions Of John Flaxman Sculptor Rome 1793), with 34 unnumbered plates. The second edition (London, by J. Matthews, January 1795) and the third (Paris, 1803) both had 34 numbered plates. The present edition has an additional five, numbered plates.

All the plates show episodes from the Iliad, and are captioned with quotations from Pope's translation.

Flaxman's original drawings are preserved in the Royal Academy.


The Academy resolved to purchase Mr Flaxman's etchings in 1797 (RAA Council Minutes II, 340); Flaxman presented a copy in 1800 (RAA Council Minutes III, 60); the RAA Library Catalogue, 1802 and that of 1821 list 'Flaxman's Designs from the Iliad of Homer, folio' (no date, and Odyssey designs not mentioned); the RAA Library Catalogue of 1841 lists 'Flaxman's Designs from the Iliad of Homer, folio, ibid. [i.e. London] 1793'. The last entry seems to refer to the first edition of [London] 1793 (unless it is an error for the London 1795 or the London 1805 edition). The same catalogue lists separately 'Flaxman's Compositions from the Odyssey, ibid. [i.e. London] 1805', with an annotation that the two sets are now bound together. The Catalogues of 1864 and 1877 list a book in which the Iliad and Odyssey designs are bound together and are assigned the date 1805. This is the book which is now in the Library (in which both sets carry the date 1805). If the Library was holding the 1793 edition in 1802 or 1841, it must have lost it and acquired by 1864 as a replacement this 1805 edition.

Binding Note

20th-century half green morocco, green cloth-covered boards; gilt-decorated spine lettered 'Flaxman's Iliad And Odyssey.', 'R.A.' and '1805'. Bound with engravings of Flaxman's designs for the Odyssey (1805).

Name as Subject


Mythology, Greek - Heroes - Trojan War
Greek poetry - Epics - Epic poetry - Greece
Drawings - 18th century - Neoclassical
Pictorial works - Illustrated books - Great Britain - 18th century - 19th century


John Flaxman RA, source artist
Homer, Iliad
Tommaso Piroli, engraver
James Parker, engraver
William Blake, engraver
Robert Harding Evans, publisher
William Richard Beckford Miller, publisher
John Arch, publisher
Arthur Arch, publisher
Alexander Pope, translator
Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme, publisher
John and Arthur Arch, publisher

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