Prometheus and Pandora by John Carew (c.1782-1868), with a close-up of Pandora. 1835-7. Marble. 2140 mm high. North Gallery, Petworth House, Sussex. Prometheus stands over Pandora, holding a small mallet. He has, it seems, just "unveiled" her. Prometheus is not usually credited with Pandora's creation. In the more usual version of the myth, she was fashioned from clay by Vulcan (whose statue can be seen in another group in the North Gallery, nearby) and had come to Prometheus, complete with her box of evils and misfortunes, as a gift from Zeus. But the box is absent here, and it seems that Carew has chosen to represent some more recent treatments of the myth, with a Pygmalion theme of the creator falling in love with his own statue. Caroline Corbeau-Parsons usefully explores the way the Prometheus and Pygmalion myths intertwine at this time, and their particular relevance to Romantic artists (160-61). According to Corbeau-Parsons, Carew's younger contemporary, Thomas Woolner, saw Prometheus as "one of the main subjects to be executed by the sculptor" (162).

This work was an unfortunate one for Carew, in that the Earl of Egremont died before the commission was completed, and so never paid for it. Carew went to court to claim his due form the estate, but lost the case, although other sculptors, like Sir Francis Chantrey, gave evidence in his favour.

Text and photographs by Jacqueline Banerjee, the latter reproduced here by kind permission of the National Trust (no. 486418). The distracting background of the photo on the right has been digitally removed. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]

Other works by Carew nearby


Carew, John Edward. Report of the Trial of the Cause Carew against Burrell, Bt. and Another, Executors of the Late Earl of Egremont. London: William Nicol, 1840. Free Ebook. Google Books. Web. 20 July 2020.

Corbeau-Parsons, Caroline. Prometheus in the Nineteenth Century: From Myth to Symbol. Abingdon, Oxon, and New York: Legend, 2013.

"Prometheus and Pandora." National Trust. Web. 20 July 2020.

Created 20 July 2020