© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Anthony Fogg, British (active 1792-1805)
After John Singleton Copley, American (Boston, MA 1738 - 1815 London, England)
Priam Beseeching Achilles for the Body of Hector
Work Type
Creation Place: Europe, United Kingdom, England, London
Physical Descriptions
Stipple engraving on paper mounted on canvas
Stipple engraving
sheet: 45.4 × 55.7 cm (17 7/8 × 21 15/16 in.)
plate: 44.2 × 55 cm (17 3/8 × 21 5/8 in.)
Gardiner Greene, gift; to Harvard University, 1818
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Transfer from Harvard University, Gift of Gardiner Greene
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Label Text: The Philosophy Chamber: Art and Science in Harvard’s Teaching Cabinet, 1766–1820 , written 2017
Evocative of a pencil drawing, this stipple engraving is based on a Homeric scene that Copley painted while visiting Rome to study and copy the work of Italian artists. The print, which Copley’s heirs sent to Cambridge in 1818, depicts Priam, the King of Troy, begging Achilles for the body of his son Hector, whom Achilles had killed in battle. (Hector’s corpse is visible at the far left of the composition.) The eloquent Priam was successful in his appeal, and Achilles agreed to grant a proper funeral to Hector. It is likely that students and visitors to Harvard, where the curriculum centered on the study of ancient Greek and Roman texts like Homer’s Iliad, would have been familiar with this scene. Emphasizing the virtue of persuasive rhetoric and beneficent leadership, the print foregrounds the values that students were expected to learn from ancient texts.

Publication History

Ethan Lasser, ed., The Philosophy Chamber: Art and Science in Harvard’s Teaching Cabinet, 1766–1820, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2017), p. 133, Plate 69; p. 28, pp. 37-38 as part of Fig. 28 in Ethan W. Lasser's "Harvard's Teaching Cabinet"; p. 59 in María Dolores Sánchez-Jáuregui's "A Repository of Gifts"

Exhibition History

The Philosophy Chamber: Art and Science in Harvard’s Teaching Cabinet, 1766–1820, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/19/2017 - 12/31/2017

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu