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Joseph Severn (1793 - 1879):
Ariel riding on a Bat

A369; oil on panel; 53 x 39 cm.

Bequeathed by Revd Robert Finch, 1830; WA1921.6.

Sharp 1892, p. 273.

This painting, in ruinous condition owing to the bitumen with which it was painted, represents Ariel flying on a bat's back, holding a peacock's feather. The subject occupied Severn for over ten years: the first painting is dated 1826 (Victoria and Albert Museum, London) and he exhibited others in 1830, 1836 and 1838. This version was shown to enthusiastic reviews in 1830, when it was bought by Finch, who had already bought the preparatory sketch.

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Information derived from the Ashmolean Museum's Complete Illustrated Catalogue of Paintings.