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The Swiss born Angelica Kauffman was a child prodigy. In her youth she travelled throughout Italy studying the Old Masters. She arrived in England in 1766, and immediately became successful as a history painter. Her designs were widely copied and incorporated into decorative schemes.

This is a version of a painting exhibited by Kauffman at the first exhibition of the Royal Academy in 1769; it is probably by a follower. It shows a scene from Homer’s epic poem, the Iliad, in which the hero bids farewell to his wife and young son, before leaving for the battlefield.

September 2004