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Under The Patronage Of His Majesty, Compositions Of The "Acts Of Mercy", Drawn By The Late John Flaxman Esqre. R.A.P.S. 1 Instruct The Ignorant. 2 Feed The Hungry. 3 Clothe The Naked. 4 Visit The Sick. 5 Comfort The Afflicted. 6 Go To The House Of Mourning. 7 Comfort The Fatherless & Widow. 8 Deliver The Captive. Engraved by F.C. Lewis, Engraver of Drawings, to the King.

RA Collection: Book

Record number


Variant Title

Compositions of the acts of mercy
Acts of mercy


London,: Published Jany. 1st. 1831,, by Miss Flaxman, & Miss Maria Denman, 74, Upper Norton St., Fitzroy Sqre.

Physical Description

[9] pl. (incl. title-pl.); 392×635 mm.

Responsibility Note

The title-plate is unsigned; all others are signed as drawn by J. Flaxman and engraved by F.C. Lewis.

Each plate carries the publishers' imprint of Mary Ann Flaxman and Maria Denman (that is, Flaxman's half-sister and sister-in-law), and the date.


D. Bindman, ed., John Flaxman, R.A. [Royal Academy exhibition catalogue] (1979), p.124-5; D. Irwin, John Flaxman 1755-1826 Sculptor Illustrator Designer (1979), p.112-3.

Summary Note

The publication-date of January 1st 1831 is carried by the title-plate and each of the eight plates.

Each plate is captioned. Not long before his death Flaxman had told L. Schorn that it had been the purpose of his lectures to the Academy to show that art in Christianity can rise higher than in paganism. Flaxman's drawings on which this set of aquatints is based do not appear to be homogeneous in finish, but he was reported in February 1807 in the Athenaeum to be thinking of publishing drawings on this theme and on that of the Lord's Prayer. His drawing for 'Instruct The Ignorant' appears to have been the basis of his monument for Abraham Balme in Bradford Cathedral.


8 March 1831: 'Resolved that two large paper copies of Flaxman's "Acts of Mercy" be purchased for the Library." (RA Council Minutes, VII, 425).

'M. A. Flaxman for books £4.4.0' (see RA Accounts: 'Abstract of Bills, Xmas 1830 to Lady Day 1831', RAA/TRE/1/3).

Only one copy ever appears to have been placed in the RA Library.

Binding Note

19th-century brown cloth-covered boards, 20th-century half calf, spine lettered 'Flaxman's Acts Of Mercy'.

Name as Subject


Drawings, British - 19th century - Neoclassical
Christian art and symbolism
Ethics - Love - Mercy - Charity
Pictorial works - Aquatints - Great Britain - 19th century