Cassandra Raving (Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, Act 2, Scene 2)

Various artists/makers

Not on view

Holding an axe, Cassandra laments the fall of Troy, which burns behind her. Lines from the play, engraved below, read: "Cry, Trojans, cry; lend me ten thousand eyes, And I will fill them with prophetic tears." Romney's related painting was conceived for John Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery, launched in 1786 as a publishing-cum-exhibition scheme that included a new illustrated edition of the plays, sets of large and small engravings, and a gallery on London's Pall Mall. The latter opened in 1789 with thirty-four paintings and contained about one hundred and seventy works the time Boydell went bankrupt and auctioned the contents in 1805–his print sales had plummeted when Napoleon blocaded European ports. This impression comes from an 1852 American reissue spearheaded by Shearjashub Spooner, a New York dental surgeon, writer and art scholar who acquired Boydell's heavily worn plates and had them reworked. His New York edition was printed on thick cream paper with small numbers added in the lower left margin, this being number 88.

Cassandra Raving (Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, Act 2, Scene 2), Francis Legat (British, Edinburgh 1755–1809 London), Etching and engraving

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