Oil painting on canvas, Bacchus (Dionysus), Ampelos, Silenus and a Maenad by Robert Fagan (Cork c.1745 – Rome 1816), 1793/95. A grisaille overdoor. Five full-length figures, left to right; muscular male striding forward to the left with his left leg forward, back turned to spectator, carrying a large open-topped vessel on his left shoulder, supported at the bottom by his left hand and on the top by his right, wearing an animal skin loincloth loosely tied at the waist, a small drape billowing from his right shoulder and wrapping itself around the trunk of a palm? tree; a naked Bacchus with a diaphanous drape across his thighs and knees is striding forward to left, his left leg forward his body facing but leaning to the right, his head turned, almost profile to right, holding in his right hand a Thyrsus (a wand tipped with a pine cone – an ancient fertility symbol), his left arm around the shoulders of naked Ampelus, who strides forward with his right leg, facing, head to left profile, wearing a small diaphanous drape hanging from his right shoulder, his left hand holds a Thyrsus, between the feet of Bacchus and Ampelos is a dog, turned to the left, head turned upwards to right, behind Ampelos, to the right, is a naked child also holding the Thyrsus in his right hand and a jug in his left, behind him to the far right is a maenad playing an aulos, striding forward with her right foot, wearing classical robes. After the original of a Dionysus procession, marble relief, Roman, 50 AD. in the Museo Nazionale, Naples - with a figure of a Maenad with cymbals and a small boy omitted by Fagan.
Presumably commissioned by Thomas Noel Hill, 2nd Lord Berwick (1770-1832) on his visit to Naples in 1792/3; bequeathed to the National Trust in 1947 with the estate, house and contents of Attingham by Thomas Henry Noel-Hill, 8th Baron Berwick (1877-1947) on 15th May 1953.
Attingham Park, The Berwick Collection (National Trust)
Makers and roles
Robert Fagan (Cork c.1745 – Rome 1816), artist