Rubens was commissioned by James I to create an allegorical painted ceiling for the new Banqueting House at Whitehall.

The ceiling was designed to celebrate the peaceful union of Scotland and England following the death of Elizabeth I. This work is Rubens's preliminary sketch for seven of the nine eventual compartments of the ceiling. In the centre, the apotheosis of James I is shown set in an oval. At the two shorter sides are processions of children, infant Bacchants and cherubs with chariots, animals, a festoon, and a cornucopia of fruit. At the longer sides, in ovals, are Hercules and Minerva, and personifications of Abundance and Temperance, triumphing over personifications of vices. This work was acquired after a public campaign where donations could be made through a special Art Fund website. This work was acquired with assistance from the Wolfson Foundation.


? Acquired in Rome by a syndicate including Thomas Trevor, 2nd Viscount Hampden, Motteux and O'Brien; Christie's, 1799; private collection; Glynde Place, Glynde; by descent to Mrs H Brand; by descent to Lord Hampden of Glynde.

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