Mucius Scaevola pencil 27.5 x 41.5 cm. (10 3/4 x16 1/4 in.)
Provenance: Colnaghi's, London.
Mucius Scaevola is a legendary hero from Rome's earliest history. When Porsinna and his Etruscans beseiged the city, Mucius entered the enemy camp and attempted to kill Porsinna. He was however, caught and arrested by the guards. In the present work, Romney depicts the moment when Mucius was brought before Porsinna; to show his contempt for pain and torture, Mucius voluntarily placed his right hand in a fire and let it burn without showing the slightest trace of weakness. Impressed by this feat, Porsinna released Mucius. From that moment on, Mucius was nicknamed Scaevola ('left hand').
We are grateful to Alex Kidson, Curator of British Art, The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool for confirming the authenticity of this lot on the basis of photographs.