Henry Alexander Bowler

The Doubt: ‘Can these Dry Bones Live?’

exhibited 1855

Oil paint on canvas
Support: 610 x 508 mm
frame: 788 x 685 x 100 mm
Presented by H. Archer Bowler 1921

Display caption

Bowler was born in London and studied at Leigh’s School and the Government School of Design. He began teaching at the Royal Academy in 1861, and from 1876 held the post of Assistant Director of Art at the South Kensington Museum. This is the only substantial work Bowler painted in the Pre-Raphaelite style. The title is a quotation from Ezekiel which describes God showing Ezekiel the valley of dry bones. A butterfly rests on the skull of John Faithful, a traditional symbol of the Resurrection. The word, ‘Resurgam’, inscribed on the headstone, translates as ‘I shall rise again’.

Gallery label, July 2007