Leighton, Lord Frederic P.R.A., R.W.S.
Europe, United Kingdom, England
First floor: Victorian
197 x 407 cm
Captive Andromache about 1888
Frederic, Lord Leighton 1830-1896
Oil on canvas
Andromache was married to Hector,
a heroic warrior prince.
In Ancient Greek legend
his death on the battlefield
signalled the end of the infamous Trojan Wars
which had raged for ten years.
The painting shows Hector's pre-battle premonition:
Andromache stands alone in a foreign land
enslaved, waiting her turn at the well.
She looks longingly at a couple with their child.
Her own husband is dead,
his body desecrated and dragged around the battlefield.
Her young child has been thrown to his death
from the city walls of Troy.
It took Leighton over a year to complete this picture
but large-scale paintings of scenes from ancient history
brought prestige to both the artist and the purchaser.
After a great deal of haggling
Manchester Art Gallery paid £4000 for the work,
a major sum then, reflecting the artist's high status.
Purchased with the assistance of The Friends of Manchester City Galleries 1889.2