The Italianate villa style of Osborne had initially inspired Dyce to choose a theme from Boccaccio for his fresco but his patrons preferred a subject depicting Neptune and his retinue presenting his crown and other wealthy gifts to the allegorical figure of Britannia, due to the proximity of the sea. Dyce remained inspired by Italian art and borrowed elements from the work of Raphael in his design, specifically from the decorations at the Villa Farnesina in Rome. The tritons blowing conch-bugles and leading the Hippocampi that draw Neptune’s chariot, are very similar to figures in the Rome ceiling.
‘brilliant in colour, and original in style; the narrative so perspicuous as to require no descriptive title’.
Art Union, 1847, P.186
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