Catalogue entry

Gavin Hamilton 1723–1798

T00864 Priam Pleading with Achilles for the Body of Hector

Not inscribed.
Oil on canvas, 25¿ x 39¿ (64.5 x 100)
Purchased from Daniel Popovich (Grant-in-Aid) 1966.
Coll. Daniel Popovich, Belgrade and New York, sold Christie’s, 25th March 1966 (143), bt. in; subsequently bt. by the Tate Gallery.

This appears to be a small preliminary version of the picture which Hamilton painted for Luke Gardiner, later Lord Mountjoy, and which Cunego engraved in 1775. The big picture, which is untraced, was probably commissioned by Gardiner after seeing T00864: Hamilton is known to have painted modelli of compositions which he hoped would later be com missioned.

‘Priam Pleading with Achilles’ is one of a series of Homeric subjects which Hamilton painted in Rome in the 1760s and ‘70s. Professor Waterhouse remarks that it ‘shows a return to Poussin’s principles of composition. We are certainly honourably reminded of Poussin’s series of the ‘Sacraments’ in the Earl of Ellesmere’s collection.’ (E. K. Waterhouse, ‘The British Contribution to the Neo-Classical style in Painting’, Proceedings of the British Academy, XL, p. 73; Cunego’s engraving is repr. as pi. X (a)).

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1966–1967, London 1967.