Acontius and Cydippe

WAG 7653


This is part of a group of drawings by British artist and book illustrator Edward Francis Burney, depicting scenes from Greek and Roman history and mythology. This composition was used for a headpiece in 'Le Souvenir', a memorandum book published by Suttaby, Evance, Fox, Richardson/London in 1822, on the page for 1st March. According to Greek myth, Acontius travelled to Delos to celebrate the annual feast of Artemis and there fell in love with Cydippe. He threw an apple towards her on which he had written: "I swear by Artemis to marry none but Acontius." By retrieving the apple and reading its message, Cydippe bound herself to Acontius, despite being in love with someone else. Burney shows Cydippe reaching for the apple.