This is the proof for the illustration 'The Boy Martyr' which accompanied a poem of the same name by Walter Thornbury published in 'Once a Week' (vol. 7, 22 November, 1862, p. 602). The poem describes the story of a young Christian forced to fight in a gladitorial contest. Miraculously he wins but refuses to give up his faith and is killed by lions, sent into the ring by the Emperor Nero. Thornbury later reused both illustration and poem in his anthology 'Historical and Legendary Ballads and Songs' (pub. 1876).A label on the reverse of the proof suggests that between 1891 and 1905, when it belonged to Charles Fairfax Murray, it was exhibited at an RA Winter exhibition.

  • Presented and purchased by subscribers, 1906.
  • © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery


Association Artist Organisation
After Frederick Sandys -
Engraver Joseph Swain -


Type Position(s) Method Date(s) Notes
Signature body Printed 1862 AFS in monogram.. Ink.
N.B - This label to be affixed to the / R. A. WINTER EXHIBIT[ION] / Artist F. Sandys [handwritten] / Work The Boy Marty[r] / Name and Adress of Owner { C. Faifax Mur[ray] / The Grange, Nov [cut] / W. Kensington
Label reverse top right - - The label has been filled in by hand but has been cut so some information is missing.. Ink.


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
Winter Exhibition
282a Royal Academy of Arts, London 1905 - 1905


Author(s) Date(s) Publisher Pages
English Illustration: The Sixties 1855-70
Gleeson White 1897, reprinted 1970 Kingsmead Reprints, Bath p. 29
City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery: Catalogue of the Permanent Collection of Drawings
1939 Derby: Bemrose & Sons Ltd. 282a
Frederick Sandys 1829-1904: A Catalogue Raisonné
Betty Elzea 2001 Antique Collectors' Club in association with Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service p. 218


James Anderson Rose, acquired by Charles Fairfax Murray probably from Christie's sale 5 May 1891.

Associated people

Name Type
Walter Thornbury Author

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