William Blake

The Crucifixion


Not on display

William Blake 1757–1827
Graphite on paper
Support: 432 × 276 mm
Presented by Mrs John Richmond 1922

Catalogue entry

A00046 The Crucifixion c. 1825–7

A 00046 / B 798
Pencil, approx. 415×245 (16 1/4×9 3/4), on paper 432×276 (17×10 7/8)
Inscribed by Frederick Tatham ‘First design William Blake./Crucifixion - very curious shewing how he/began/Frederick Tatham’ b.r.
Presented by Mr John Richmond 1922
PROVENANCE Mrs Blake; Frederick Tatham; his brother-in-law George Richmond, sold Christie's 29 April 1897 (in 147 with 22 other items; see no.2) £2.10.0 bt Dr Richard Sisley; his daughter Mrs John Richmond
LITERATURE Butlin 1981, p.546 no.798, pl.1033

This rough pencil sketch is not related to any other known depiction of the Crucifixion by Blake. The nervous lines suggest that this is a late work. It can be related to some of the more sketchy of the illustrations to Dante such as N03370 and to the drawings illustrating the Book of Enoch done at about the same time (Butlin 1981, no.827, pls.1079–83).

Above the figure of the Crucified there is another figure with arms upraised with a very roughly sketched form rising from one hand, and on each side the sun and moon, shaded and, in the case of the moon, apparently dripping with blood. Some Apocalyptic interpretation of the subject is presumably involved. There are the usual mourning figures below.

This work was formerly inventoried by the Tate Gallery as no.3694 xix.

Published in:
Martin Butlin, William Blake 1757-1827, Tate Gallery Collections, V, London 1990


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