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This is one of a group of seven sketches from the 1780s by Blake which all appear to illustrate the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (weeds) from St Matthew's Gospel. Jesus explained:

The field is the world, the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

This linking of the harvest with the Last Judgement is important in the work of both Blake and Samuel Palmer.

April 2001