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Ceyx and Alcyone

WILSON, Richard (1714 - 1782)

Ceyx and Alcyone

Date: 1768

Media: oil on canvas

Size: 101.5 x 127.0 cm

Acquired: 1979; Purchase

Accession Number: NMW A 65

In the 1760s Wilson produced a group of pictures illustrating high tragedy, usually taken from classical mythology. This work was shown at the Society of Artists in 1768. According to the Roman author Ovid, Ceyx, King of Tracninia, was drowned while on his way to consult the oracle Claros. His Queen, Alcyone, who learned of the tragedy in a dream, is shown distraught with grief as the ghostly white corpse of her husband is brought ashore. The king and queen were turned into birds - the Alcyones. Reynolds described Wilson's attempts at history painting as 'a very difficult adventure'.


Sarah Ingle
17 December 2016, 17:16
A sketch of this painting belonged to my ancestor William Ince, the cabinet-maker, and was sold by Mr Christie in an auction of his property on 10th March 1807 for £13 13s. The buyer's name is given as Barnett in the Catalogue.

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