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This is one of fifty small biblical pictures commissioned from Blake by his patron, Thomas Butts, in 1799. It illustrates a verse from the second Book of Samuel in the Old Testament:

And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that King David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the palace: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.

This woman was Bathsheba, wife of Uriah. David, shown in the upper right corner, was to father her child, and arrange the death of her husband.

April 2001