Description This is likely the miniature that Samuel Shelley exhibited at the Royal Academy, London in 1788. The title "The Hours (after Gray)" draws attention to the source of inspiration: a poem by Thomas Gray (1716-1771). The design was engraved by Nutter (in the same format, but more tightly cropped) for Charles Taylor's "The Cabinet of Genrius" (London, 1788) as the frontispiece to Thomas Gray's "Ode to Spring." Shelley returned to this subject in 1801, when he exhibited another miniature, titled "The Horae, Eumonia, Dice and Irene; or the past, the present, and the coming hour," at the Royal Academy. This work is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City (26.168.71). Shelley was a self taught painter who founded his style on that of Sir Joshua Reynolds. He was best known for his miniatures and fancy subjects, and he also made designs for book illustrations. He was one of the founding members of the Water-Colour Society, and exhibited 140 works there during his career. A painting on ivory after this subject by Shelley by Edward Greene Malbone can be found in the collection of the Providence Athenaeum, Providence, Rhode Island. It was purchased for the library by subscription in 1854. The gilt metal frame is enamelled on the front in bands of white and blue.
Provenance William T. or Henry Walters, Baltimore, before 1901 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by William T. or Henry Walters before 1901
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