Job and his Daughters William Blake Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Job and his Daughters was a theme which featured in William Blake's career on a number of occassions. This memorable version was produced using watercolours and can be found in the collection of the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City.

Blake produced a number of artworks to illustrate The Book of Job, which was a Hebrew Bible. He would initially produce drawings and watercolours before later producing engraved plates that could then be used for multiple series of prints. This was a popular method in the 18th and 19th century for maximising income from single artworks, as well as promoting one's name further afield through the trading routes that were now fairly well established. Many other artists would do the same and it helped to create an extra income stream to supplement their existing projects. Thomas Butts and John Linnell were the two main patrons used by Blake across his career and they would both be involved in the various stages of this highly successful project which ultimately would bring them all good amounts of money and receive credit for the artistic merit delivered here.

The painting in front of us here was produced usin pen and black ink, gray wash, and watercolor. There are also some faint lines of graphite which have also been spotted. Blake would typically use pen to produce form and to be more precise with elements of detail, before then using watercolours to bring in colour, which in the case of this artwork were tones of blue, purple and green. Blake varied his mood across his career within his artworks, with this piece feeling fairly positive and upbeat, whilst for years he would actually produce much darker scenes that might remind us of the Goya Black paintings. The Brit was therefore entirely adaptable and also liked to challenge himself to avoid becoming too predictable or unambitious in his work. Job and his Daughters formed a single addition in the overall series known as Blake's Illustrations for The Book of Job.

The Morgan Library & Museum hosts one of the best collections of William Blake art anywhere in the US. Unlike most art museums that focus on paintings and sculptures, this institution have a large number of historic manuscripts within their permanent display, plus also prints as well from centuries past. The carefully acquired selection includes some other household names too, besides Blake, including Raphael, Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Paul Rubens, Thomas Gainsborough and Albrecht Dürer. It is a highly intellectual selection which is also well served by some beautiful architecture which plays host to the popular library and museum. When considering those other names, and the types of mediums in which they were involved, Blake's inclusion seems entirely apt and it is believed that the artworks from his career were amongst the first items to be acquired.

Job and his Daughters in Detail William Blake