Flaxman, John (1755-1826; English) (after)
Compositions of the Acts of Mercy (London, 1831; prints by F.C.Lewis)
Purchased 1857
State Library of Victoria [AEF 735 F61 (H 87.221/1 etc.)] 

The publication comprises 8 etchings with aquatint shading, based on drawings apparently made by Flaxman in the 1790s. They were published after his death by Mary Ann Flaxman and Maria Denman, who also published his Aeschylus compositions in 1831.

Symmons (1984) notes C.R.Cockerell’s opinion that these designs lack the inspiration apparent in Flaxman’s drawings after Homer and others. However, his strengths as an illustrator trained as a sculptor are clear in a number of these images.

[photo: Deliver the Captive (SLV H87.221/8)]


MPL 1857, IV, p.6 (& MPL 1861, p.155)

See SLV catalogue entry for details (with reproductions of all 8 prints). Other copies are held elsewhere; see e.g. https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/?group_accession=267.2008.1-8

For Cockerell’s view of this series, see Symmons Flaxman and Europe (1984), p.77; but for a more positive estimation of the image reproduced here, see Judy Egerton in Blake Quarterly, Summer 1980, p.29, fig.6 (reviewing David Bindman, ed., John Flaxman, RA, 1979): see http://bq.blakearchive.org/14.1.egerton (all websites cited accessed 6 Feb.2021)

For Mary Ann Flaxman and Maria Denman, see linked artist entry on Flaxman