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Philip Rundell (1746-1827)

The Shield of Achilles 1821

RCIN 51266

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In the Iliad Homer describes a shield forged for Achilles by the god Hephaestus, said to represent the worlds of gods and men. Flaxman’s shield, a recreation of Homer’s words, shows the heavens in the centre – with the sun god Apollo in his chariot surrounded by the moon and stars. The border shows scenes of earthly life, and the rim the ‘mighty stream of ocean’.

Purchased by George IV in 1821