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Painted for Thomas Butts [1757-1845];[1] by descent to Thomas Butts, Jr. (sale, Messrs. Foster, London, 29 June 1853, no. 86), bought by J.C. Strange, Highgate. (Harvey), London, by c. 1865. William Bell Scott by 1876 (sale, Sotheby's, London, 14 July 1892, no. 236), bought by (Bernard Quaritch), London. Charles Eliot Norton, Cambridge, Massachusetts [d. 1908]. Gabriel Wells. George C. Smith, Jr., by 1930 (sale, Parke-Bernet, New York, 2-3 November 1938, 1st day, no. 109, repro.), bought by (Rosenbach & Co.), Philadelphia, for Lessing J. Rosenwald, Philadelphia; gift to NGA, 1943.

Exhibition History

The Works of William Blake, Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1876, no. 107.
International Exhibition of Industry, Science and Art: Pictures of Works of Art, Edinburgh, 1886, no. 1442.
Works of William Blake, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1930, unnumbered.
William Blake 1757-11827: an Exhibition of the Works of William Blake selected from Collections in the United States, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1939, no. 148.
The Art of William Blake, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1957, no. 4.
William Blake, Tate Britain, London; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2000-2001, no. 43, repro. (shown only in London).

Technical Summary

The medium-fine canvas is plain woven; it has been lined. The ground is white, thickly applied in animal glue and spongy in texture. There is a thin monochrome imprimatura covered by a layer of glue. The painting is executed thinly in glue tempera, a very thin layer containing the colored elements of the design being covered with a brownish layer; the linear details are added in black with a pen, with the final touches of white in a low impasto. There is an original surface coat of animal glue. The painting was described by William Rossetti in 1863 as "fearfully dilapidated. "[1] The paint is abraded and is actively flaking and cleaving; the surface coat has discolored to a very significant degree and has begun to delaminate from the paint. Extensive watercolor inpainting was carried out in 1938;[2] further watercolor inpainting was done in 1965, 1968, and in the early 1980s. The wax varnish has discolored gray.

[1] Gilchrist 1863, 2:215.[2] Philadelphia 1939, 97, under no. 148.


"Rossetti, William. Annotated Catalogue". In Gilchrist, Alexander. Life of William Blake, "Pictor Ignotus." 2 vols. London and Cambridge, 1863: 2:no. 99.
Binyon, Laurence, and (Sir) Geoffrey Keynes. Illustrations of the Book of Job by William Blake. New York, 1935: 46 (under no. 20).
Keynes, Sir Geoffrey. William Blake's Illustrations to the Bible. Clairvaux (The Trianon Press), 1957: 22, no. 742, repro.
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 15.
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 8, repro.
Lindberg, Bo. William Blake's Illustrations to the Book of Job. Abo, 1973: 23, 347, nos. xxvi, 20G.
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 30, repro.
Rosenwald, Lessing J. Recollections of a Collector. New York, 1976: 97.
Bindman, David. Blake as an Artist. Oxford, 1977: 209.
Butlin, Martin. The Paintings and Drawings of William Blake. 2 vols. New Haven and London, 1981: 1:no. 394; 2:color pl. 500.
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 49, repro.
Hayes, John. British Paintings of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1992: 17-19, repro. 18.
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 340-341, no. 275, color repro.

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