Eve Tempted

John Roddam Spencer Stanhope, 1829 - 1908

Eve Tempted

John Roddam Spencer Stanhope 1829 - 1908


Depiction of the temptation of Eve from the bible story in the book of Genesis. The naked figure of Eve stands beneath the Tree of Knowledge on a carpet of blue, white and yellow flowers and grass, with one hand leaning against the earthen bank behind her, the other reaching up over her head to grasp an apple. Eve faces the viewer, her head turned to the right of the picture, her eyes blankly gazing down and her left foot in front of her right. She has long blond hair which hangs behind her and swoops up at her right hip to cover her genital area. A blue serpent, with a hideous human head and red hair, entwined about the trunk and branches of the tree, whispers temptation, in the form of steamy breath, into Eve's ear. Small, Italian-style cypress trees and a path winding through grass can be seen in front of the red brick garden wall in the background.

Display Label

Gallery text panel In Pursuit of Beauty Late Victorian Art and Design Improving the quality of British art and design had been a concern since the 1850s. The British Empire had expanded into new continents but it was the classical ideal of beauty, based on Ancient Greek and Roman culture that was still considered the model for serious art. The pursuit of beauty was a form of escapism from the mass-production of industrial Britain. As well as looking to the ancient world, artists and designers were delighted and inspired by the arts of Renaissance Italy, the Middle and Far East. Many of the paintings here feature a beautiful woman. Sometimes she is a passive, decorative form, but often she is a dark and brooding femme fatale, a symbol of seduction, deception and destruction. The 'fatal woman' may reflect late Victorian male fears as women campaigned for equal rights and new roles. The emphasis on colour, harmony and rhythm and simplifying the form of an object would become major concerns in the 20th century. They can be seen emerging here in the work of late Victorian artists and designers.

Object Name

Eve Tempted

Date Created

1877 (circa)


Panel: 161.2cm x 75.5cm

accession number


Place of creation






On Display

[G10] Manchester Art Gallery - Gallery 10
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Presented by John Slagg M.P


© Manchester Art Gallery

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