VIRGIL READING THE AENEID TO AUGUSTUS & THE FAINTING OCTAVIA
Oil on paper
19.5 x 23cm
Provenance: Collection of Cyril & Shirley Fry
The poet, Virgil, has been reading from a passage in the sixth book of his own epic poem in which Octavia’s dead son Marcellus is highly praised, at which point Octavia faints with grief. The anecdotal story is recorded in the late fourth-century life of Virgil by Aelius Donatus.
The subject is one which Woodforde treated on at least two further occasions: one work, slightly more finished than the present, was purchased by the Art Fund in 1991 from William Drummond (formerly in the artist's relative, possibly his Uncle, John Woodforde's collection); and the other is a study executed at an earlier stage than the present work and the aforementioned sketch, which can be found in the collections at Stourhead (1)(2) [see further images above]. It is not known whether Woodforde ever completed the larger-scale oil which these are presumably studies for.
[Last accessed 18/07/2021]
(2) https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/virgil-reading-the-aeneid-to-augustus-and-the-fainting-octavia-101137 [Last accessed 18/07/2021]]