Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Oil painting - Venus rising from the froth of the sea
  • Venus rising from the froth of the sea
    Cruikshank, George, born 1792 - died 1878
  • Enlarge image

Venus rising from the froth of the sea

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    19th century (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cruikshank, George, born 1792 - died 1878 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs George Cruikshank

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room WS, case R, shelf 33, box L

This oil painting shows the figure of Venus, stood on a rock at the foot of the rainbow and encircled with waves and sea foam. Venus, or Aphrodite, was the goddess of love and beauty. Classical legend tells of Venus being created after the severed genitals of the god Uranus were thrown in to the sea. The other figures surrounding Venus in Cruikshank’s’ image may be the Furies (vengeful female deities) who were created from the blood of Uranus.
Cruikshank painted two versions of this subject that are very similar in composition. The version in the Graphic Arts Collection at Princeton University also features Venus on a rainbow-bathed rock with waves crashing round her.
George Cruikshank is best known as a caricaturist and book illustrator. A prolific maker of prints during a long working life (there is an extensive collection in the V&A), the number of works in oil is small. Cruikshank was aware of his shortcomings as a painter in oils; in April 1853 he briefly enrolled - at the age of 61 - as a student in the RA antique class. He exhibited eight at the RA between 1830 and 1867 and 15 at the BI 1833-60, the subjects principally literary and genre. Died London 1 February 1878; a good deal of his studio collection was presented to the V &A by his second wife Eliza.

Physical description

Image of Venus rising from the froth of the sea.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


19th century (painted)


Cruikshank, George, born 1792 - died 1878 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Marks and inscriptions

'George Cruikshank'
Signed by the artist, lower right

'Venus rising from the Froth of the Sea/By George Cruikshank and Signed'
Inscribed in pen and pencil on a label on the back (presumably by the artist's wife) pasted onto the upper stretcher


Height: 305 mm canvas, Width: 252 mm canvas, Depth: 15 mm canvas

Object history note

Given by Mrs George Cruikshanks, 1884

There is a very similar painting by Cruikshank - another version? - in Princeton University, Firestone Library, Graphic Arts Collection:


Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'Venus Rising from the Froth of the Sea', George Cruikshank

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

Parkinson, R., Victoria and Albert Museum, Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, London: HMSO, 1990, p. 57
Loukia Loizou Hadjigavriel, Myrto Hatzaki and Demetra Theodotou Anagnostopoulou, eds., The Venus Paradox. Nicosia : A.G. Leventis Gallery, [2017]. ISBN: 9789963732265
p. 207


Oil paint; Canvas


Oil painting

Subjects depicted



Paintings; Myths & Legends

Production Type



Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.