<< YCBA Home Yale Center for British Art Yale Center for British Art << YCBA Home

YCBA Collections Search

IIIF Actions
Gavin Hamilton, 1723–1798

Andromache Mourning the Death of Hector

Part Of:

Collective Title: Illustrations to the Illiad

between 1760 and 1763
Pen and brown ink with gray wash and brown wash on medium, slightly textured, cream wove paper mounted to medium, slightly textured, cream wove paper
Sheet: 6 3/4 × 9 inches (17.1 × 22.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawings & Watercolors
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
bed | bedroom | children | dead | drapes | men | mourning | religious and mythological subject | Trojan war | women
Associated People:
Accessible by appointment in the Study Room [Request]
Note: The Study Room is open by appointment. Please visit the Study Room page on our website for more details.
IIIF Manifest:

Based in Rome from the late 1750s, the Scottish artists Gavin Hamilton enjoyed an international reputation as a history painter. Central to his reputation was the series of six monumental paintings of scenes from Homer's Iliad, painted over the course of about fifteen years from 1760 and engraved by Dominic Cunego. Although they were commissioned from different patrons, Hamilton thought of the series as a single work and conceived of the engravings as a set.

The first in the series to be painted, though the final scene in Hamilton's narrative sequence, was Andromache Mourning the Death of Hector, commissioned by Lord Compton and painted in the summer of 1760 (the painting has not survived). Achilles Lamenting the Death of Patroculus, commissioned by James Grants of Grant in 1760 and painted in 1763 (collection of Earl of Seafield), came next. The pair of drawings mirrors the compositions of these first two paintings, although the role of the drawings in the genesis of the paintings and the subsequent Cunego prints is not clear. Within the series these two scenes - the furios gried of Achilles and the tragic sorrow of Andromache - are closely connected, providing the kernel of the narrative that Hamilton expanded into six scenes. In contrast to Rysbrack's IIiad illustration (cat. 30), Hamilton's compositions are more tightly focused on central figure groupings, enhancing both the clarity and the drama of the representations. Influenced by the paintings of the seventeenth century master Nicolas Poussin, Hamilton in these works announces the principles of neoclassicism in history painting.

Scott Wilcox

Wilcox, Forrester, O'Neil, Sloan. The Line of Beauty: British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century. Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2001, pg. 42 cat. no. 31

The Line of Beauty : British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century (Yale Center for British Art, 2001-05-19 - 2001-08-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

Brendan Cassidy, The life & letters of Gavin Hamilton (1723-1798), artist & art dealer in eighteenth-century Rome , Harvey Miller Publishers, London, 2011, v.1, p. 68, fn 147, NJ18.H172344 A12 2011 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Scott Wilcox, Line of beauty : British drawings and watercolors of the eighteenth century, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2001, pp. 42-43, no. 32, NC228 W53 2001 (YCBA) [YCBA]

If you have information about this object that may be of assistance please contact us.