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Oil painting - Ariel


  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Rome (painted)

  • Date:

    1826 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Severn, Joseph, born 1793 - died 1879 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    oil on millboard backed with canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Paintings, Room 82, The Edwin and Susan Davies Galleries, case West Wall

Severn took the image from Shakespeare's play, The Tempest, where the mischievous sprite Ariel sings:

There I couch when owls do cry.
On a bat's back I do fly…

He was a close friend of the poet John Keats in Rome, where this work was painted. He exhibited several paintings of Ariel at the Royal Academy. There is another in the V&A collection (see 1416-1869).

Physical description

Oil painting

Place of Origin

Rome (painted)


1826 (painted)


Severn, Joseph, born 1793 - died 1879 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

oil on millboard backed with canvas

Marks and inscriptions

'Severn/Rome 1826'
Signed and dated by the artist, lower left


Height: 24.7 cm estimate, Width: 38.1 cm estimate, Weight: 3.5 kg with frame, Height: 40 cm Frame, Width: 52.1 cm Frame, Depth: 5.8 cm Frame

Object history note

Bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend, 1868

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'Ariel', Joseph Severn, 1826

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

Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, Ronald Parkinson, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1990, pp. 261-62


Oil paint; Millboard; Canvas


Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Fairy; Bat




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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