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This oil sketch depicts a scene from the Trojan wars as described in Homer’s Iliad. The nymph Thetis has persuaded Vulcan, the blacksmith of the gods, to make a set of impregnable armour for her son Achilles.This was probably a design for the decoration of the staircase at Hanbury Hall, Worcestershire. Towards the end of the seventeenth century it had become fashionable to paint the walls and ceilings of important buildings with historical or mythological scenes. Thornhill was the first major British artist to gain favour for painting in this highly ornate Baroque style.

May 2007