The Boy Martyr. Artist: Frederick Sandys. Engraver: J. Swain, 1862. Wood-engraving, 3½ x 5 inches. Once a Week(22 November 1862): p.602. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

This illustration for a poem by Walter Thornbury is uncharacteristically dynamic; most of Sandys’s designs are still reveries. It represents the martyrdom of an early Christian in Nero’s arena. The drawing of the lion is perhaps one of the artist’s weaker efforts, although the half-naked torso and pose are carefully observed. In Sandys’s illustrations, death and suffering are major themes, several times visited.

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Last modified 18 July 2013