'Autolycus', oil on canvas by Charles Robert Leslie, probably Great Britain, about 1836. Museum number. FA.115 Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857

'Autolycus', oil on canvas by Charles Robert Leslie, probably Great Britain, about 1836. Museum number. FA.115 Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857

Autolycus was a thief disguised as a pedlar who appears in Shakespeare's play A Winter's Tale. He is shown here selling cheap goods and sensational printed ballads to gullible country folk. Leslie based the background sky and the ash tree at the right on studies supplied by a friend, the landscape painterJohn Constable (1776-1837).