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Image of The Hiding of Moses

William Blake
English, 1757–1827

The Hiding of Moses


Object Type: Print
Creation Place: Northern Europe, English, London
2 3/4 in. x 4 7/8 in. (6.99 cm x 12.38 cm)
Medium and Support: Etching on paper
Accession Number: 1991.0012.0007

Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Weil, Jr., in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Weil, Sr.

This work is the second state (the published state) of two and the design may have been copied from a tempera painting "Moses Placed in the Ark of Bulrushes" (now lost). The print was engraved from a watercolor drawing of the same subject ("Moses Placed in the Ark of the Bulrushes," ca. 1824, Huntington Library, San Marino, California, object number 00.24) produced for John Linnell (English, 1792–1882). The first state, before the plate was cut down on the left, is unique, but impressions of the second state are numerous. The work was made for “Remember Me! A New Years Gift or Christmas Present,” a Christmas annual or “keepsake” book published by Dr. R. J. Thornton, who also published Blake’s "Virgil..." woodcuts.

The definitive catalogue raisonné of Blake’s engravings describes the image as: "Moses, asleep in a wicker cradle, is laid among bulrushes at the river's edge. The mother on the bank swoons into her husband's arms. A palm tree at right overshadows them. [Moses' sister,] Miriam stands, on the look out, beyond, upon some steps leading down to the river, upon the lowest of which is a Sphinx. The river winds over the plain into the distance. In the background are the pyramids and some other buildings.

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