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Relief - Venus caging Cupids
  • Venus caging Cupids
    Flaxman, John, born 1755 - died 1826
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Venus caging Cupids

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1788-1794 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Flaxman, John, born 1755 - died 1826 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Marble in a gilt wood frame

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by John Jones

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This relief in white marble, in a gilt wood frame depicts Venus caging Cupids, in a gilt wood frame. The composition appears to be based on the Pompeian painting, 'Cupids for sale', found at Stabiae and now in the Museo Nazionale, Naples. Flaxman may have seen this painting during his time in Italy (1787-94).

John Flaxman (1755-1826) was an English sculptor, designer and teacher. He was the most famous English Neo-classical sculptor of the late 18th century and the early 19th. He focused on monumental sculpture and church monuments and portrait busts. A large collection of his plaster models is held in the Strang Print Room, University College, London. He also made outline illustrations of Homer, Aeschylus and Dante. Many of those in his sketchbooks (now in the V&A) were drawn from the antique while he was in Italy. Furthermore he produced models for pottery and silver supplying the pottery manufacturer Josiah Wedgwood among others. He thus can be considered as an important pioneer in the development of Industrial Design.

Physical description

Relief. Venus stands in the centre holding a cage in her left hand, while on the right and on the left a man and woman are urging a little boy to go to the Goddess.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1788-1794 (made)


Flaxman, John, born 1755 - died 1826 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Marble in a gilt wood frame


Length: 66.5 cm, Height: 33.5 cm

Object history note

Jones Bequest in 1882.

Descriptive line

Relief, white marble in a gilt wood frame, Venus caging Cupids, by John Flaxman, English, ca. 1788-94

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

List of Objects in the Art Division, South Kensington Museum acquired during the Year 1882. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1883. pp. 110
Catalogue of the Jones Bequest. 1924. II, No. 393. pp. 100
Bilbey, Diane with Trusted, Marjorie. British Sculpture 1470 to 2000. A Concise Catalogue of the Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: V& A Publications, 2002. pp. 77
c.f. Conforti. Das Nazional Museum zu Neapel. Pl. CXVII.


Marble; Gilt wood



Subjects depicted

Boy; Man; Cage; Woman


Sculpture; Reliefs; Myths & Legends


Sculpture Collection

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