Venus Directing Aeneas and Achates to Carthage

Image credit: National Trust Images

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Venus directs her son Aeneas and his faithful companion Achartes to the city of Carthage and Queen Dido. She is disguised as a huntress, with a bow and quiver on her back. The two Trojan warriors have survived a storm after the Sack of Troy and have arrived on the coast of Africa. The scene is from an episode in the first book of Virgil's epic poem 'The Aeneid'.

This painting was exhibited at the Royal Society of Arts in 1768 and at the first Royal Academy exhibition in 1769. The artist was the co-founder of the Royal Academy and a friend of Sir Joshua Reynolds. She may have got her inspiration for the subject matter from her friend Nathaniel Dance-Holland, whom she had met in Rome and who painted a subsequent episode in the story, 'The Meeting of Dido and Aeneas and Achates', which is now in Tate Britain.

National Trust, Saltram



Venus Directing Aeneas and Achates to Carthage




oil on canvas


H 127 x W 101.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

accepted in lieu of death duties on the estate of Edmund, 4th Earl of Morley; transferred from HM Treasury, 1957

Work type



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Normally on display at

National Trust, Saltram

Plympton, Plymouth, Devon PL7 1UH England

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