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John Flaxman RA, The Furies Pursuing their Victim

The Furies Pursuing their Victim, 1792 -94

John Flaxman RA (1755 - 1826)

RA Collection: Art

These drawings are for Flaxman's illustrations to The Tragedies of Aeschylus. Flaxman was commissioned by the Dowager Countess Spencer (a cousin of Mrs. Hare Naylor who commissioned him to illustrate Homer) to produce a set of illustrations to Aeschylus's seven tragedies, at the price of one guinea per design. Flaxman made thirty-one finished drawings in 1793 and of these thirty plates were engraved by Piroli and published in Rome and London in 1795, with a further edition published in London in 1831.

As with Flaxman's drawings for The Odyssey and The Iliad, most of these illustrations are drawn in pen and ink over pencil. A number of these examples indicate how Flaxman experimented with poses and details in pencil before going over the composition in pen and ink.



The group of drawings does not constitute a full set as it is missing three of the scenes from the published plates: 'Orestes Pursued by the Furies', 'Polynices and Eteocles in Combat' and 'Orestes Killing Clytemnestra and Aegisthus'. Finished drawings for these scenes, along with some preliminary studies, are now in the British Museum.

In 1881 the Royal Academy devoted its Winter exhibition to the works of Flaxman. These drawings were lent to the Academy for the exhibition and were purchased immediately afterwards.

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Object details

Title
The Furies Pursuing their Victim
Artist/designer
John Flaxman RA (1755 - 1826)
Date
1792 -94
Object type
Drawing
Medium
Pencil, pen and ink on light grey laid paper
Dimensions

236 mm x 293 mm

Collection
Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
03/3450
Acquisition
Purchased from Charles Leigh Clare in 1881
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