Thomas Phillips, R.A. 1770 - 1845
Venus and Adonis
Photo: R.A./John Hammond
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Venus and Adonis, 1808
Oil on canvas, 1274 X 1019 X 25 mm
Diploma Work given by Thomas Phillips, R.A., accepted 1808
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Phillips was apprenticed to a glass painter in Birmingham before moving to London in 1790. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1791 along with Sir Martin Archer Shee, PRA. Phillips also worked in Benjamin West’s studio. His early exhibited work included history paintings but he soon realised that if he were to live by his profession that ‘I must attach myself to Portraiture’.
However as portraits were not acceptable as Diploma Works, Phillips submitted Venus and Adonis as his presentation piece. Phillips depicts Adonis with a spear in hand and his dog on a leash, eager to go off hunting, while Venus implores him to stay. The turtle doves and the scattered roses refer both to Venus’s beauty and the love she felt for Adonis.

Frames associated with this work