Sir James Thornhill The Apotheosis of Romulus: Sketch for a Ceiling Decoration, Possibly for Hewell Grange, Worcestershire c.1710

Artwork details

Artist
Sir James Thornhill 1675 or 76–1734
Title
The Apotheosis of Romulus: Sketch for a Ceiling Decoration, Possibly for Hewell Grange, Worcestershire
Date c.1710
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 457 x 521 mm
frame: 584 x 643 x 75 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 1953
Reference
N06200
Not on display

Display caption

This is probably part of a decorative scheme for Hewell Grange, the seat of the Earl of Plymouth, which was destroyed in the nineteenth century. The story of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, was a favourite subject for the mansions of landowners who prided themselves on their classical learning and who saw parallels between eighteenth-century Britain and the rise of the Roman Empire. As the only British-born decorative painter of note, Thornhill catered wholeheartedly for this taste and played on native pride to thwart foreign competition. Some of his aggressive chauvinism was later taken over by his son-in-law William Hogarth.

August 2004

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