Show me:
and
Clear all filters

  • 32 items Explore
  • 38 items
  • 22 items Explore
  • 47 items
  • 92 items
  • 3,443 items Explore
  • 89 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 4 items
  • 41 items
  • 10,029 items Explore
  • 209 items Explore
  • 1,211 items Explore
  • 7,413 items Explore
  • 4,913 items Explore
  • 71 items Explore
  • 124 items Explore
  • 9,431 items Explore
  • 13,011 items Explore
  • 4,336 items Explore
  • 7 items
  • 41 items
  • 5 items
  • 127 items Explore
  • 2,039 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 4,683 items Explore
  • 24 items Explore
  • 440 items Explore
  • 18,184 items Explore
  • 34 items Explore
  • 1,810 items Explore
  • 960 items Explore
  • 6 items
  • 5,281 items Explore
  • 410 items Explore
  • 29 items
  • 923 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 8 items
  • 16,943 items Explore
  • 787 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 73 items Explore
  • 33 items
  • 798 items
  • 25 items
  • 61 items
  • 28 items
  • 303 items Explore
  • 6 items
  • 44 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 2 items
  • 134 items
  • 2 items
  • 2 items
  • 109 items Explore
  • 116 items
  • 896 items Explore
  • 832 items
  • 91 items
  • 27 items
  • 7 items
  • 23,967 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 3,351 items Explore
  • 1,508 items Explore
  • 352 items
  • 191 items Explore
  • 7,650 items Explore
  • 8,917 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 1 items
  • 39 items
  • 3 items
  • 4 items
  • 5,732 items Explore
  • 5,425 items Explore
  • 4,035 items Explore
  • 943 items Explore
  • 911 items Explore
  • 3,090 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 312 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 3,249 items Explore
  • 20 items Explore
  • 313 items Explore
  • 726 items Explore
  • 807 items Explore
  • 476 items Explore
  • 1,088 items Explore
  • 1,004 items
  • 89 items
  • 124 items Explore
  • 6,129 items Explore
  • 163 items
  • 311 items
  • 7 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 24 items
  • 58 items
  • 300 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 2,841 items Explore
  • 1,311 items Explore
  • 69 items
  • 43 items
  • 18,456 items Explore
  • 1,099 items Explore
  • 138 items
  • 955 items Explore
  • 28 items
  • 1 items
  • 145 items Explore
  • 18 items
  • 23 items
  • 252 items
  • 311 items
  • 820 items Explore
  • 1,893 items
  • 279 items Explore
  • 2,344 items
  • 2,503 items
  • 6 items
  • 2 items
  • 3 items
  • 3,684 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 29,685 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 3,065 items Explore
  • 197 items Explore
  • 7,417 items Explore
  • 31 items
  • 25 items
  • 720 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 65 items
  • 156 items
  • 52 items
  • 20,206 items Explore
  • 820 items
  • 17 items
  • 2 items
  • 19,209 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 1,999 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1,018 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 57 items
  • 419 items
  • 3,280 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 82 items
  • 446 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 20 items
  • 90 items Explore
  • 68 items
  • 289 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 4 items
  • 114 items
  • 272 items
  • 764 items
  • 718 items
  • 1 items
  • 341 items Explore
  • 459 items Explore
  • 10,349 items Explore
  • 699 items Explore
  • 5,852 items Explore
  • 19 items
  • 5,001 items Explore
  • 27 items
  • 1 items
  • 5,276 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 3,304 items Explore
  • 9,171 items Explore
  • 6,812 items Explore
  • 183 items
  • 19 items
  • 142 items
  • 7 items
  • 981 items Explore
  • 17 items
  • 3,920 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 4 items
  • 1,022 items Explore
  • 192 items
  • 1 items
  • 3,485 items Explore
  • 20 items
  • 696 items Explore
  • 17 items
  • 115 items
  • 3,246 items Explore
  • 12,473 items Explore
  • 2,732 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 7,980 items Explore
  • 31 items
  • 1 items
  • 21,312 items Explore
  • 91 items
  • 38 items
  • 12,568 items Explore
  • 3,294 items Explore
  • 1,977 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 162 items
  • 34,973 items Explore
  • 634 items Explore
  • 415 items
  • 21,270 items Explore
  • 195 items
  • 3 items
  • 1 items
  • 16 items
  • 29 items
  • 64 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 216 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 13,565 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 10,108 items
  • 9 items
  • 10 items
  • 13 items
  • 25 items
  • 3,825 items Explore
  • 859 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 195 items
  • 882 items Explore
  • 42 items
  • 2,058 items Explore
  • 1,109 items Explore
  • 14 items
  • 1,800 items Explore
  • 135 items
  • 73 items
  • 699 items Explore
  • 2,871 items Explore
  • 38 items
  • 22 items
  • 12 items
  • 9,563 items Explore
  • 20,597 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 3 items
  • 1,188 items
  • 170 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 7 items
  • 80 items
  • 1 items
  • 10,013 items Explore
  • 3,527 items Explore
  • 2,608 items Explore
  • 4,669 items Explore
  • 23 items
  • 57 items
  • 6,345 items Explore
  • 4,029 items Explore
  • 458 items Explore
  • 2,255 items Explore
  • 1,886 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 1,280 items Explore
  • 32 items
  • 216 items Explore
  • 353 items Explore
  • 5,403 items Explore
  • 8,932 items Explore
  • 1,827 items Explore
  • 3,559 items Explore
  • 3,331 items Explore
  • 8,825 items Explore
  • 72 items
  • 11 items
  • 2,525 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 7 items
  • 24 items
  • 51 items
  • 1 items
  • 1,888 items Explore
  • 615 items Explore
  • 62 items
  • 16 items
  • 141 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 72 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 458 items
  • 11 items
  • 1,000 items
  • 29 items
  • 3,563 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 8,309 items Explore
  • 47 items Explore
  • 10 items
  • 43 items
  • 3 items
  • 12,989 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1,017 items Explore
  • 91 items
  • 9,990 items Explore
  • 779 items Explore
  • 2,007 items
  • 5,097 items Explore
  • 21 items
  • 12,327 items Explore
  • 1,338 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 9,540 items Explore
  • 15,849 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 1,681 items Explore
  • 175 items
  • 41 items
  • 5,410 items Explore
  • 7,530 items Explore
  • 48 items
  • 21 items
  • 2 items
  • 59 items
  • 6,911 items Explore
  • 244 items Explore
  • 11 items
  • 4 items
  • 6 items
  • 4 items
  • 104 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 423 items
  • 166 items Explore
  • 7,511 items Explore
  • 45 items
  • 1 items
  • 21,590 items Explore
  • 6,605 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 2 items
  • 557 items Explore
  • 325 items
  • 2 items
  • 300 items Explore
  • 11,257 items Explore
  • 54 items
  • 16 items
  • 5 items
  • 4 items
  • 314 items Explore
  • 403 items
  • 172 items
  • 3,305 items Explore
  • 27 items
  • 1,244 items Explore
  • 2,214 items Explore
  • 718 items Explore
  • 20 items
  • 1,081 items Explore
  • 96 items Explore
  • 42 items
  • 251 items Explore
  • 58,489 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 2,628 items Explore
  • 2,596 items Explore
  • 22 items
  • 3,110 items Explore
  • 97 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 15,332 items Explore
  • 5,119 items Explore
  • 7 items
  • 658 items Explore
  • 85 items
  • 468 items
  • 39 items
  • 72 items
  • 29 items
  • 329 items
  • 3 items
  • 42 items
  • 1,067 items Explore
  • 91 items
  • 713 items
  • 46 items
  • 8,400 items Explore
  • 25 items
  • 17 items
  • 1,038 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 52 items
  • 14,294 items Explore
  • 92 items
  • 17 items
  • 1 items
  • 2 items
  • 5 items
  • 302 items
  • 2 items
  • 547 items Explore
  • 1,641 items Explore
  • 893 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 154 items

Select a time period

Or choose a specific year

Clear all filters

The Fury of Athamas

John Flaxman RA (York 1755 – London 1826)

Category

Art / Sculpture

Date

1790 - 1794

Materials

Marble

Measurements

2200 x 1980 mm

Place of origin

Rome

Order this image

Collection

Ickworth, Suffolk (Accredited Museum)

On show at

Ickworth, Suffolk, East of England, National Trust

NT 852233

Caption

A colossal, marble sculpture of the King of Thebes about to throw his child against a rock may not be the most welcoming subject for an entrance hall, but it is precisely what greets visitors to the main rotunda of Ickworth in Suffolk. ‘The Fury of Athamas’ tells a tragic story of madness and murder, taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. King Athamas, driven to insanity by the Furies, goddesses of vengeance, believes his palace is in danger from a wild lioness and her cubs. In his madness he grabs his son Learchus, believing him to be one of the cubs, and hurls him against a rock. It was carved by John Flaxman, then a relatively unknown sculptor, for Frederick Augustus Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry. The commission evidently took place on the recommendation of Antonio Canova, while Flaxman and Hervey were both living in Rome. The latter is said to have prophetically declared, ‘Flaxman will rise to be the first sculptor in Europe, the exquisite Canova not excepted’. ‘The Fury of Athamas’ would ultimately cement Flaxman’s reputation as the most famous English neo-classical sculptor of his age. But the process of completing the monumental sculpture was a huge undertaking, not least because of the size. The 600 guineas Flaxman received as payment from Hervey barely covered the cost of materials and the artist had to find alternative methods to make a living whilst completing the sculpture, including becoming a book illustrator. The finished masterpiece had a chequered history before its eventual arrival in England. Hervey had the misfortune of assembling a rather large art collection in Italy during the time of the Napoleonic wars. In 1798 he was arrested by Napoleon’s army and the sculpture was confiscated. Flaxman’s sculpture, along with many cases of looted antiques, sculptures and paintings from all over Italy, made the arduous journey across land, sea and river before being brought to Paris as the culmination of Napoleon’s victorious Italian campaigns. Ultimately, Hervey’s son, Frederick, 1st Marquess of Bristol succeeded in purchasing the sculpture for a second time, and it finally came to Ickworth in the 1820s.

Summary

White marble sculpture on white wood plinth, The Fury of Athamas by John Flaxman RA (York 1755 – London 1826), 1790. Colossal white marble group of four figures on wooden plinth. It represents the scene from Ovid's Metamorphoses when Athamas, King of Thebes, driven mad by the gods, snatches his infant son Learchus from the arms of his mortal mother and his second wife, Ino, and dashes out his brains upon a rock, watched in terror by their other child, Melicertes. Commissioned by the Earl-Bishop in Rome in 1790 for £600. The sculpture was confiscated by the French in 1798 before it arrived at Ickworth and had to be bought back by the 1st Marquess in Paris in the early 1820s.

Provenance

Commissioned by Frederick Augustus Hervey, the Earl-Bishop (1730-1803) in Rome in 1790 for £600; confiscated by the French in 1798 before it arrived at Ickworth and had to be bought back by the Frederick William Hervey, 1st Marquess (1769-1859) in Paris in the early 1820s; acquired by the National Trust in 1956 under the auspices of the National Land Fund, later the National Heritage Memorial Fund

Makers and roles

John Flaxman RA (York 1755 – London 1826), sculptor

References

Guilding 2014 Ruth Guilding, Owning the Past : Why the English collected Antique Sculpture, 1640 - 1840, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Yale University Press, 2014, p. 257, fig. 243

View more details