Carthage : Aeneas at the Court of Dido

WAG 2221


This extensive, imaginary view of Carthage is populated by neo-classical buildings, which also act to frame the composition, as the temple does on the right. The landscape, surrounded by trees, is more English in appearance. On the left of the paintng, two massive Corinthian columns dwarf the people at the market below. The dark foreground includes ruined columns while the middle distance shows the Court of Dido, with many figures, including that of Aeneas. Behind this are numerous buildings against the backdrop of the Mediterranean sea. Claude Lorraine's ' View of Carthage, with Dido, Anaeas and their Suite Leaving for the Hunt' of 1676 is a possible source for the composition of this picture. Austin may have known of it from J.M.W.Turner's Carthagian subjects of 1814 - 1817. Austin has included several of Liverpool's neo-classical buildings: the portico of the Church of the School for the Blind is on the right and St Andrew' Presbyterian Church, the Infirmary and the gateway of the Necropolis are in the distance. The picture can be seen as a tribute to their architect, John Foster Jnr, who was President of the Liverpool Academy while Austin was its Secretary. The Walker's collection includes a study for this watercolour (WAG 966) too.