Despite a legion of suitors, the wife of Odysseus remains loyal to his memory.

Penelope Unravelling the Shroud, by Joseph Wright of Derby, 1783-84, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles © akg-images.

Josiah Wedgwood, the great industrialist and pottery designer, commissioned Joseph Wright of Derby to paint a tribute to female loyalty and industry. Unsurprisingly, Wright took as his subject Penelope, the wife of the Greek hero Odysseus, King of Ithaca, who had left for the Trojan Wars. Despite Odysseus being absent for 20 years, presumed dead, Penelope rejected the attentions of 108 suitors by employing various strategies.

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