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St. Paul Preaching at Athens

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (probably, published)

  • Date:

    1837 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Burnet, John F.R.S., born 1784 - died 1868 (etcher)
    Raphael, born 1483 - died 1520 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    etching on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level D, case E, shelf 3, box B

The so-called Raphael Cartoons, which this print reproduces, are seven full size designs for tapestries by the great Italian Renaissance artist Raphael (1483-1520). They illustrate passages from the Bible concerning the lives of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. None of them is smaller than ten feet high by thirteen feet wide. They belong to Her Majesty the Queen and have been on loan to this museum since 1865. The earliest print relating to the Raphael Cartoons dates from 1516, the year in which Raphael received final payment for the commission. It inaugurates an extraordinary case study in the history of printmaking, stretching over more than four hundred and fifty years and across a wide range of printmaking techniques.

Physical description

Saint Paul stands on steps in front of a building preaching to a crowd. Behind is a townscape and two buildings, one rotund with marble columns and statues in niches, the other square with arches. There is a statue of Mars just behind the listening crowd.

The image is in the same direction as the cartoon on which it is based and is faithful in compositional detail.

Place of Origin

London (probably, published)


1837 (published)


Burnet, John F.R.S., born 1784 - died 1868 (etcher)
Raphael, born 1483 - died 1520 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

etching on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Etched on steel by J Burnet
Lower right

[Designed] and Drawn by Raffaelle
Lower left

Etching by Burnet "Paul Preaching at Athens" / after Raffaelle.
label stuck to lower margin, centred


Height: 54.9 cm sheet, Width: 66.8 cm sheet, Width: 66 cm platemark

Object history note

Part of a group of objects previously in possession of Mr. R.S.Smith [South Kensington Museum employee?].

Descriptive line

Steel etching by John Burnet, Paul Preaching at Athens, after a cartoon by Rafael. London, 1837.

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

Shearman, John. Raphael's Cartoons in the collection of Her Majesty the Queen and the tapestries for the Sistine Chapel. London, Phaidon, 1972.
Fermor, Sharon. The Raphael Tapestry Cartoons: Narrative, Decoration, Design. London, Scala Books in association with the Victoria and Albery Museum.


Printing ink; Paper



Subjects depicted

Crowd scenes; Clothing, Costume; Classical statues; Rotundas (buildings); Townscapes (representations); Raphael Cartoons


Prints; Religion; Christianity


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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