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image P50

Francis Danby (1793 - 1861)

Scene from the Merchant of Venice: Belmont - in the Garden of Portia's House.

1827-28

Oil on canvas

Height: 69.8cm, sight size
Width: 89.1cm, sight size

Museum number: P50

Curatorial note

This painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1828. It depicts a scene from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice featuring Lorenzo and Jessica seated in the garden of Portia’s House:

“How sweet the Moonlight sleeps upon this bank,/Here will we sit and let the sounds of music/creep in our ears—soft stillness of the night/Become the torches of sweet Harmony/Sit Jessica, look how the floor of Heav’n/is thick inlaid with patterns of bright gold.

Soane commissioned this painting from Danby via Sir Francis Chantrey as a charitable gesture when Danby was in severe financial difficulties—and paid him £152 10s for it. Chantrey wrote to Soane that the first instalment ‘came at a most fortunate moment—indeed, I have reason to think it may be the means of keeping him sinking.’

Provenance help-art-provenance

Commissioned by Soane in 1828.

Literature

Soane, Description, 1830, p.23 and 38
Soane, Description, 1835, p. 16
Francis Danby, Tate Gallery and Bristol City Art Gallery Exhibition Catalogue, 1988, pp. 103-104
Thornton, P. and Dorey, H. A Miscellany of objects from Sir John Soane's Museum, 1992, p. 122
New Description, 2007, p. 79

Exhibition history

Francis Danby, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, 5 November 1988 - 22 January 1989; Tate Britain, London, 15 February - 9 April 1989
Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1828


If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk