William Etty

The Parting of Hero and Leander

exhibited 1827

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Not on display

William Etty 1787–1849
Oil paint and metal leaf on canvas
Support: 864 × 864 × 26 mm
frame: 1184 × 1184 × 185 mm
Purchased 1945

Display caption

Hero was a beautiful priestess of Venus who lived at Sestos. She was deeply in love with a youth called Leander who lived at Abydos on the opposite shore of the Hellespont - a narrow strip of water now known as the Dardanelles. The lovers would meet at Sestos by night after Leander had swum across the channel, guided by a burning torch which Hero held aloft. One night, returning home, Leander was drowned in a storm.

Gallery label, January 1990

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