Hylas Surprised by the Naiades

John Gibson1827-?36, exhibited 1837

Tate Britain

Tate Britain
London, United Kingdom

According to Greek mythology, Hylas was the beautiful son of King Thiodomus. Herakles (Hercules), having killed the King, took Hylas as his servant and lover. They joined the Argonauts, led by Jason, in their search for the Golden Fleece. When their ship was forced to make for land, Hylas went ashore to fetch water at a fountain. The nymphs of the fountain (or naiads) thought him so beautiful that they pulled him into the water so that he might always live with them. The inscription in Greek which Gibson chiselled into the marble translates as 'Beautiful Hylas'.


  • Title: Hylas Surprised by the Naiades
  • Creator: John Gibson
  • Date: 1827-?36, exhibited 1837
  • Provenance: Presented by Robert Vernon 1847
  • Physical Dimensions: 1600 x 1194 x 718 mm
  • Original Title: Hylas Surprised by the Naiades
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: Tate
  • Medium: Marble

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