Agrippina designedly shipwrecked. A.R. 808.

WAG 7732


This is one of a group of drawings by British artist and book illustrator Edward Francis Burney, depicting scenes from Greek and Roman history and mythology. One of the inscriptions on the margin, March No. 3, seems to refer to the month in a calendar for which Burney created this frontispiece drawing. He executed many headpieces of this kind for pocket calendars and memorandum books between 1796 to 1829. [See correspondence between Patricia Crown and Edward Morris, in the docket file] This drawing depicts Julia Agrippina, known as Agrippina the Younger (15 - 59 CE), being deliberately shipwrecked under the guise of an accident. The shipwreck was commanded by Emperor Nero, Agrippina's son, because of her opposition to his relationship with Poppaea Sabina. She survived by swimming ashore but was later put to death by Nero. The female attendant who is being attacked had pretended to be Agrippina in an attempt to save herself, ignorant of the plot to kill Agrippina.