John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (1829-1908)
John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (1829-1908)

Pysche and the task of the seed (a preparatory study for The Labours of Psyche)

Details
John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (1829-1908)
Pysche and the task of the seed (a preparatory study for The Labours of Psyche)
pencil, pen and sepia ink and wash heightened with touches of white
30 x 12 in. (76.2 x 30.3 cm.)
Provenance
Anonymous Sale; Christie's, London, March 14 1967, lot 168 as Psyche in Despair

Lot Essay

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This is a preparatory study of Psyche and the task of the seed for the four-panel painting by Stanhope The Labours of Psyche, depicting the 'impossible tasks' she was set by Venus in order to be re-united with Cupid (as taken from the story in Apuleius's Metamorphoses). Psyche is told to sort out a roomful of assorted grains before nightfall; she does so with help from a colony of friendly ants who help divide the grains into piles for her. The finished four-panel painting was shown at the famous Dudley Gallery at the winter exhibition of 1873 (as no. 267).
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