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The Works of Virgil: containing his Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis Translated into English verse by Mr. Dryden. Adorn'd with a hundred sculptures.


RA Collection: Book

Record number



Uniform Title

[Works., English., Dryden., 1697.]

Variant Title



London:: Printed for Jacob Tonson, at the Judges-Head in Fleetstreet, near the Inner-Temple-Gate,, MDCXCVII.

Physical Description

[44], 48, [12], 49-147, [49], 201-640 p., frontis., [102] pl. 445 mm. (Quarto).

General Note

'The Names Of The Subscribers To The Cuts of Virgil' calls for 101 plates (in addition to the frontispiece and the plate illustrating the Life of Virgil). Plate [6] carries the number 24, and pl. [45] carries the number 179. The Royal Academy's copy is imperfect, lacking two plates from the Georgics (pl. [14] and [23], to face pp. 63, 110) and one from the Aeneid (pl. [83], to face p. 481).


[Frontis., t.p., dedic.] - The Life Of Pub. Virgilius Maro [with 1 pl.] - Preface To The Pastorals ... - To Mr. Dryden on his Excellent Translation ... [five poems] - Errata; Directions to the Binders, how to place the several Parts of this Book in Binding - The Names Of The Subscribers To The Cuts of Virgil - The Names of the second Subscribers - Virgil's Pastorals [with 10 pl.] - [Dedic.] - An Essay On The Georgics - Virgil's Georgics [with 20 pl.] - [Dedic.] - Virgil's Æneis [with 71 pl.] - Postscript To The Reader - Notes and Observations On Virgil's Works In English.

Responsibility Note

The first poem addressed to Dryden is anonymous; the other four are signed by Henry Grahme, H. St. John, Ja. Wright and George Granville.

Most plates are signed as designed by F. Cleyn, and as engraved by W. Hollar or P. Lombart (but pl. [101] is signed as engraved by W. Faithorne, and pl. [99] by W. Coster?). The frontispiece is signed as engraved by M. Vander Gucht. The plate illustrating the Life of Virgil is unsigned.

The three dedications are from the translator to (i) Hugh Lord Clifford, Baron of Chudleigh, (ii) Philip Earl of Chesterfield, (iii) John, Lord Marquess of Normanby (afterwards 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby). Each plate (except the frontispiece) carries its own dedication - these reproduce those of the 1654 Ogilby Virgil, where sponsorship of the several plates helped to defray costs.


B. Pasquier, Une édition illustrée de Virgile (1663) (1981) [on Cleyn's illustrations for Ogilby's Virgil]. Broader studies include T.P. Campbell, A consideration of the career and work of Francis Clein [M.A. diss., Courtauld Inst.] (1987); A. Griffiths and R.A. Gerard, The print in Stuart Britain, 1603-1689 (1998).

On the relation of painting to poetry in the 17th and 18th centuries see D.T. Mace, 'Ut pictura poesis: Dryden, Poussin and the parallel of poetry and painting', in Encounters: essays on poetry and the visual arts, ed J.D. Hunt (1971), p. 58-81; J.H. Hagstrum, The sister arts: the tradition of literary pictorialism and English poetry from Dryden to Gray (1958). Two 18th-century examples of the use of the classics as theme-books for artists are: L. Malaspina di Sannazaro, Soggetti per quadri ad uso de' giovanni pittori (Vienna 1798) and Tableaux tirés de l'Iliade ... Eneide ... observations générales sur le costume (Paris 1757).

Surveys on Virgil in art include: Poet and artist: imaging the Aeneid, ed. H.V. Bender (Wauconda USA, 2004); M. Geymonat, 'Per un commento iconografico all'Eneide', in Atti e memorie/ Accad. Nat. Virgiliana, n.s. 57 (1989); N. Llewellyn, 'Virgil and the visual arts', in Virgil and his influence, ed. C. Martindale (1984), p. 117-140; Virgilio illustrato nel libro (secc. IV-XIX) [exhibition catalogue] (Vatican City, 1981); Virgilio nell'arte e nella cultura europea (1981); G. de Tervarent, Présence de Virgile dans l'art (1967); H. Bardon, 'L'Eneide et l'art des XVIe-XVIIIe siecles', in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 6e per. 37 (July 1950), p. 77f.; P. d'Ancona, 'Virgilio e le arti rappresentive', in Emporium (1927), p. 245 f.. Among many detailed studies may be mentioned D.H. Wright, 'From copy to facsimile: a millenium of studying the Vatican Virgil', in British Library journal (1991); M. Kitson, 'The Altieri Claudes and Virgil', in Burlington magazine, 102 (1960), p. 312 f.; B. Pasquier, Une édition illustrée de Virgile (1790) (1981) [on C.N. Cochin's illustrations]; A. Stief, Die Aeneisillustrationen von Girodet-Trioson (1986); R.N. Essick, A troubled paradise: William Blake's Virgil wood engravings (1999).
ESTC, R26296

Summary Note

Plates [2, 5, 29, 72, 73, 79, 95] carry the dates 1652 or 1653 - reproducing those which Cleyn provided for Ogilby's translation of Virgil published in 1658. Cleyn also illustrated Sandys's Ovid (1632) and Ogilby's Homer (1660).

The works of Virgil and other epic, dramatic and narrative texts were held in the Academicians's library as providing subjects suitable for historical painting. Virgil has always stimulated visual artists - from ancient manuscript-illuminators through Renaissance decorators and Baroque painters like Louis Laguerre (who decorated Buckingham Palace and Frogmore House with scenes from the story of Dido and Aeneas) to 19th- and 20th-century book-illustrators such as Blake, Palmer, Dunoyer de Segonzac and Maillol.

Representation of literary narrative has raised many questions. Should the artist merely invoke the 'mood' of the original (as Claude is sometimes said to do)? Should he or she conflate several events? How faithful historically should the image be to its source? The last question is touched on by J. Spence in his Polymetis and by Lessing in his Laocoon. Much of the criticism of the Royal Academy show in 1850 at which Turner exhibited his painting of Mercury visiting Aeneas at Carthage centred on the freedom of his treatment of Virgil's text.


A microfilm version was published in 1982 (Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms International).


Acquired between 1769 and 1802. Recorded in A Catalogue Of The Library In The Royal Academy, London (1802).

Copy Note

There are brief inscriptions on pp. 33, 399, 511, 530, and markings on pp. 314, 321, 324, 439, 449, 460, 481, 505, 506.

Binding Note

Contemporary mottled calf, upper and lower covers gilt-stamped with royal arms of Britain; rebacked in 20th century, green morocco spine-label lettered 'Dryden's Virgil'.

Name as Subject


Pastoral - Agriculture - Rome - Italy - Mythology, Roman - Mythology, Greek - Heroes
Latin poetry - Epics - Epic poetry - Narrative Poetry - Italy - Rome - 1st century B.C.
Translations into English - Epic poetry - English poetry - Translations from Latin - Narrative art - Great Britain - 17th century
Illustrated books - Pictorial works - Armorial bindings - Great Britain - 17th century