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Plaque - The Apotheosis of Hercules

The Apotheosis of Hercules

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Covent Garden (painted)

  • Date:

    1763 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Handasyde, Charles (enamel painter)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Enamel on copper, painted in colours in wood and base metal frame with paper backing

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Oval copper plaque painted with apotheosis of Hercules. Herculesis seated among clouds in the centre of the scene. He has white hair and beard, is partially clothed in a lion skin and holds a club in his left hand. He looks at the goddess Minerva on his right. She is clothed in a purple and pink robe, falling open to reveal her right leg and sandals. She also wears a breastplate and plumed helmet and holds a spear in her right hand. Her right arm is protected by a small shield on which is perched an owl, making reference to her role of goddess of wisdom. With her left hand, Minerva beckons Hercules towards Olympus where he is to be deified. A cockerel stands by her right side. To Hercules' left stands Hebe, goddess of youth and daughter of Jupiter and Juno. She is naked and points to the clouds with her right hand; her left is being held by a naked putto. Between Hercules and Hebe hovers Cupid in pink drapery, aiming an arrow at Hercules.

Place of Origin

Covent Garden (painted)


1763 (painted)


Handasyde, Charles (enamel painter)

Materials and Techniques

Enamel on copper, painted in colours in wood and base metal frame with paper backing

Marks and inscriptions

'Chas Handasyde 1763 / Pinxit Piazza Covent Garden'
handwritten in mauve ink
decoration, artist's signature; Reverse; handwritten; ink


Height: 7.7 cm without frame, Width: 10.2 cm without frame, Height: 10.5 cm framed, Width: 13.2 cm framed, Depth: 0.7 cm framed

Object history note

Provenance: Sold by Woolley and Wallis, 51-61 Castle Street, Salisbury, 9th September 1998, lot 433

Historical significance: English painted enamels are rarely signed and dated, and their precise place of origin is not usually known. This example adds to our knowledge of the type of work produced in London.

Descriptive line

Plaque, enamel painted in colours on copper, in wood frame, Charles Handasyde, Covent Garden,1763

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

Young, Hilary. ‘A documentary London enamel by Charles Handasyde’, Transactions of the English Ceramic Circle, Vol. XVII, Part 3, 2001, pp. 383-388

Production Note

Painted in the artist's studio in the Piazza, Covent Garden


Enamel; Copper; Wood; Base metal; Paper



Subjects depicted

Owl; Cockerel


Ceramics Collection

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