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Medea the Sorceress

Photo credit: Southwark Art Collection

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This sinister beauty is Medea, the vengeful wife of Jason from ancient Greek mythology. Medea helped Jason with the insurmountable task of getting the Golden Fleece that he needed in order to obtain his inheritance. Medea brutally killed her own brother to ensure her and Jason’s safe escape. Yet Jason betrayed her love when he agreed to marry the beautiful princess Glauce. Here Medea gathers poisoned fungi from a serpent filled forest, which she will use to poison Glauce and her father. She holds in her hand the dagger that in some versions of the legend she will use to kill her own sons to reap vengeance on Jason. This tragic subject was popular amongst the nineteenth-century Pre-Raphaelite and Romantic painters. This work is by Valentine Cameron Prinsep who was tutored by George Frederic Watts and was a great friend of Frederic Leighton.

Southwark Heritage Centre



Medea the Sorceress




oil on canvas


H 182.8 x W 152.4 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased from the executors of the artist's estate

Work type



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Southwark Heritage Centre

Walworth Road, London, Greater London SE17 1RY England

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