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Watercolour - Phryne and the Slave
  • Phryne and the Slave
    Flint, William Russell Sir, RA, PRWS, born 1880 - died 1969
  • Enlarge image

Phryne and the Slave

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Britain (painted)

  • Date:

    ca. 1900-1920 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Flint, William Russell Sir, RA, PRWS, born 1880 - died 1969 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on linen

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Ernest P. Dawbarn on behalf of the Fine Art Society

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room WS, case R, shelf 100, box R

Physical description

Watercolour on linen entitled 'Phryne and the Slave'. Phryne is depicted in profile, lying on a bed wearing a yellow cap and partially covered by a white robe, with a nude female slave at the foot of the bed holding up a thin-stemmed jug, a bowl, and a white cloth. There is a table also, with a larger water jug or amphora and a bowl of fruit, possibly oranges or lemons.

Place of Origin

Britain (painted)


ca. 1900-1920 (painted)


Flint, William Russell Sir, RA, PRWS, born 1880 - died 1969 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on linen

Marks and inscriptions



Height: 16.1875 in, Width: 15.0625 in

Descriptive line

Watercolour on linen entitled 'Phryne and the Slave' by William Russell Flint. Great Britain, ca. 1900-1920.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Phryne, ( Greek: “Toad”) , byname of Mnesarete (flourished 4th century BC), was a famous Greek courtesan. Because of her sallow complexion she was called by the Greek name for “toad.”

She was born in Thespiae, Boeotia, but lived at Athens, where she earned so much by her beauty and wit that she offered to rebuild the walls of Thebes, on condition that the words “destroyed by Alexander, restored by Phryne the courtesan” were inscribed upon them. At a festival of Poseidon and also at the festival at Eleusis she walked into the sea naked with her hair loose, suggesting to the painter Apelles his great picture of “Aphrodite Anadyomene” (“Aphrodite Rising From the Sea”), for which Phryne sat as model. She was also (according to Athenaeus) the model for the statue of the Cnidian Aphrodite by Praxiteles, whose mistress she was; copies of the statue survive in the Vatican and elsewhere. When accused of blasphemy (a capital charge), she was defended by the orator Hyperides. When it seemed as if the verdict would be unfavourable, he tore her dress and displayed her bosom, which so moved the jury that they acquitted her; another version has Phryne tear her own dress and plead with each individual juror.


Water-colour; Linen


Watercolour drawing

Subjects depicted

Prostitute; Courtesan; Fruit; Bedroom; Greek; Women; Fruit; Bed; Slaves


Paintings; Portraits; Myths & Legends; Scotland


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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