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Hector and Achilles

Probably 1805-1825
Origin: America, Connecticut
Primary Support: 16 1/8 x 20in. (41 x 50.8cm) and Framed: 19 x 23 1/8in.
Watercolor on wove paper
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1958.301.9
A scene of battle between two men clad in ancient dress. The man at the left stands on the point of running his spear through the neck of the other man, who kneels on the ground. Above the two, an allegorical female figure floats, with her attribute, an owl, behind her. A castle wall is seen in the right distance, with soldiers standing on its ramparts and in front of it. To the left are horsemen and a forest. Trees stand at either side of the composition.
The 2-inch gilded frame with gadrooned inner and outer borders is probably a period replacement.
Label:In terms of the size of the primary support and the relative scale of the figures, this is the largest Pinney watercolor recorded to date. The intricacy of the details of the combatants' costumes also mark it as one of Pinney's more painstaking and ambitious efforts.
A print most likely served as the basis for Pinney's composition, although such a source has not yet been identified. The scene illustrates lines 326-329 from Book XXII of Homer's ILIAD, wherein Hector hurls his spear at Achilles, but the weapon is deflected by Athene's breath. The goddess is easily identified by one of her attributes, the owl, which hovers behind her in this watercolor interpretation.
Provenance:J. Stuart Halladay and Herrell George Thomas, Sheffield, Mass. Halladay died in 1951, leaving his interest in their jointly-owned collection to his partner, Thomas. Thomas died in 1957, leaving his estate to his sister, Mrs. Albert N. Petterson, who was AARFAC's vendor.