William Blake, overpainted by another hand
THE HOLY FAMILY 'CHRIST IN THE LAP OF TRUTH'
tempera, overpainted by another hand in oils
600 by 500 mm; 23 3/4 by 19 3/4 in.
This work shows the Virgin Mary seated with the Infant Christ on her knee. To the left and right are St. Joseph and St Anne, who themselves are flanked by angels. In the foreground a young St John the Baptist plays with the lamb. Although heavily over-painted after Blake's death, possibly in the 1850s, underneath the oil surface there exists a tempera by William Blake. It is likely that this tempera formed part of the cycle of work that Blake executed for his great patron Thomas Butts between 1799 and 1810. A watercolour of the same subject, but with compositional differences is in the Cleveland Museum of Art, U.S.A.. The work had been acquired by the 1st Lord Houghton by 1862. More