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Watercolour - Carthage: Aeneas and Achates

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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1985P31
Collection:Fine Art Prints and Drawings
Date:1825 - 1825

Maker Information

Artist:David Cox - View biography for David Cox


Cox is usually associated with views of the English and Welsh countryside, so this watercolour - in which he creates an imagined historical landscape with classical characters - shows a less familiar aspect of his work. Artists in the early nineteenth century were becoming increasingly interested in painting images of the ancient world. In this case, the subject is taken from Virgil's epic poem, the Aeneid.

Cox was inspired to paint this work after seeing Turner's oil paintings of 1814-15, Dido and Aeneas and Dido Building Carthage (both now in Tate Britain). According to his biographer, Cox wanted to prove that such 'glowing and imaginative pictures' could be painted in watercolour as well as in oil. Traditionally, watercolour had been a less respected form of art than oil painting, but as this work illustrates, watercolourists were growing in confidence and ambition, and wanted to rival oil painters by painting heroic subjects on a grand scale.

Presented by the Public Picture Gallery Fund, 1985.

Further Information

Production Period:19th century
Medium:Watercolour and gum on paper, with scratching-out

Associated Places


Height:762 mm
Width:1152 mm