Pan and Syrinx
91 of 184 portraits by Isaac Beckett
Pan and Syrinx
by Isaac Beckett, published by John Smith
14 in. x 9 3/4 in. (355 mm x 248 mm) plate size, with 5 mm margins
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This portraitback to top
Depicting three figures. Syrinx, an Arcadian river-nymph, is shown seeking refuge with a river God whilst Pan is in pursuit or her and can be seen from the bushes. The legend states that to escape Pan, Syrinx fled into the waters of her river where she pleaded the gods for help, and they changed her into a reed. Disappointed, Pan cut the reed into pieces of gradually decreasing lengths, fastened them together with wax and thus produced the shepherd's flute, or 'pipes of Pan', upon which he is said to play.
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Events of 1681back to top
Current affairsThird Exclusion Parliament meets in Oxford avoiding disruption in Whig-dominated London. Charles II refuses Exclusionists's proposal that James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, his illegitimate son with Lucy Walter, should succeed to the throne, replacing James, Duke of York.
Prominent Exclusionist, Anthony Ashley-Cooper, is arrested on suspicion of high treason.
Art and scienceNatural philosopher, Samuel Morland is appointed 'Master of Mechanicks' to the king having transformed Windsor Castle's water system.
Architect, Christopher Wren, is commissioned to design the Royal Hospital, Chelsea.
Poet laureate, John Dryden, writes political satire Absalom and Achitophel, focusing upon the trial of Anthony Ashley-Cooper.
InternationalKing of France, Louis XIV, concerned by England's instability over the exclusion crisis, offers Charles II a subsidy, bolstering the king in his dealings with Parliament. In return, England agrees to withdraw from entering an anti-French alliance with Spain; Laurence Hyde, Lord of the Treasury, signs the accord with France.
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