Persian Sibyl

British SchoolBefore 1626

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery
London, United Kingdom

DPG537-45, one of nine surviving pictures from a set of twelve Sibyls owned by Edward Alleyn and acquired by him from 'Mr Gibkyn' in 1620 in exchange for 'my 12 owld Sibyls' and £2 (according to an entry in his diary of 3 November). The fact that some of the pictures are on canvas and others on panel, and the apparent duplication of the Cumaen Sibyl, suggest that the set was not painted as such, but assembled from Gibkyn's stock. The twelve legendary sibyls, pagan virgins distinguished by their geographical names, prophesised specific episodes in the life of Christ. The Persian sibyl foretold the Temptation in the Wilderness and was sometimes shown with a dragon beneath her feet and a lantern.

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  • Title: Persian Sibyl
  • Date: Before 1626
  • Physical Dimensions: w423 x h572 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • Work Nationality: British
  • Support: Oak panel
  • School: British School
  • Provenance: Alleyn Bequest, 1626.
  • Inscriptions: top: 'SIBILLA PERSICA'
  • Acquisition Method: Alleyn, Edward (Bequest, 1626)