N03340 Satan Smiting Job with Sore Boils c.1826
N 03340 / B 807
Pen and tempera on mahogany 326×432 (12 7/8×17)
Signed ‘W. BLAKE fecit’ incised b.r. Presented by Miss Mary H. Dodge through the National Art-Collections Fund 1918
PROVENANCE George Richmond; Frederick Locker; Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke, Bt., by 1876; his son, sold Christie's 10 April 1911 (128) £157.10.0 bt Carfax; Miss Mary H. Dodge
EXHIBITED BFAC 1876 (150, as a watercolour); Carfax 1906 (18); Tate Gallery (10), Manchester (17), Nottingham (11) and Edinburgh (13) 1913–14; English Painting Paris 1938 (160); Paris, Antwerp (pl.6), Zurich (repr.) and Tate Gallery (repr.) 1947 (7); Arts Council 1951 (15); The Devil in Figuralive Art, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; June–September 1952; Tate Gallery 1978 (313, repr.)
LITERATURE Robertson in Gilehrist 1907, p.491 no.8 (as a varnished watercolour); National Art-Collections Fund Report for 1918, 1919, p.36 no.248, repr.; Binyon 1922, p.17, colour pl.95; Wicksteed Job 1924, p.122 n.3; Binyon and Keynes Job 1935, 1, pp.6–8, 28, repr. p.6; Collins Baker in Huntington Library Bulletin, X, 1936, p.144; Blunt in Warburg Journal, VI, 1943, p.199; Keynes Faber Gallery 1946, pp.5, 14, 24, colour pl.6; Keynes Bible 1957, p.22 no.69, repr.; Blunt 1959, pp.31, 36–7, 83, pl.55b; Damon 1965, pp.49–50; Lindberg 1973, pp.33 no.xxxi, 227–8 no.6e, pl.20; Bindman 1977, p.252 n.14; Klonsky 1977, p.109, repr. in colour; Butlin 1981, pp.551–2 no.807, colour pl.972; Warner 1984, pp.22, 91, 107, 113, 118, 120–1
This picture is a development of the composition of plate 6 of Blake's Illustrations to the Book of Job, published in March 1826 but probably engraved the previous year (see A00017). Unlike the engraving, and unlike the related compositions in the two preceding series of watercolours, that painted for Thomas Butts in about 1805–6 and that painted for John Linnel in 1821, and unlike the reduced scale drawing made in preparation for the engravings in 1823–5, Satan is shown with wings and the clouds framing the sun are more schematic; the general effect is more monumental and, although the borders of the engraving add further subtleties of meaning, the painting seems to represent the final stage of the composition (for the preceding versions see Butlin 1981 nos.550 6, 551 6 and 557 17, colour pl.702 and pls. 738 and 766 respectively).
An inscription on the back of the panel reads, ‘This drawing by Blake belonged to George Richmond RA Frederick Locker’.
Martin Butlin, William Blake 1757-1827, Tate Gallery Collections, V, London 1990
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