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The Fall of Man

1807 (painted)
Place of origin

Watercolour drawing

Object details
Object type
Materials and techniques
Pen and watercolour on thin card
Brief description
Watercolour by William Blake entitled 'The Fall of Man'. Great Britain, 1807.
Physical description
Watercolour drawing
  • Height: 495mm
  • Width: 394mm
Marks and inscriptions
  • 1807 W Blake inv (Signed and dated)
  • The Father indignant at the Fall - the Saviour, while the Evil Angels are driven, gently conducts our first parents out of Eden through a Guard of weeping Angels - Satan now awakes Sin, Death, & Hell, to celebrate with him the birth of War & Misery: while the Lion seizes the Bull, the Tiger the Horse, the Vulture and the Eagle contend for the Lamb.
Object history
Provenance: Thomas Butts; Thomas Butts jun., sold Foster's 29 June 1853 (no. 89); Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, Bt.; Gen, Archibald Stirling; Lt.-Col. William Stirling; sold 1953 to the Victoria and Albert Museum

It was no. 27 at the Blake Exhibition held in 1947 at the René Drouin Gallery, Paris and elsewhere.

Historical significance: Blake worked on various versions of the Last Judgement from 1806 until the end of his life. David Bindman remarks on how, in The Fall of Man, Blake shows a synoptic view of the Fall, with Christ (rather than the Archangel Michael) leading Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden (Bindman, p. 165). God the Father is enthroned in the sphere of Heaven, and at the bottom Hell gapes open, and Sin and Death emerge.

The Last Judgement is the subject of a companion watercolour of 1806 (A Vision of the Last Judgement, 1806, Pollock House, Glasgow). In this work Adam and Eve appear in contrition before the throne, while the trump-blowing Angels descend to confront the Beast consumed in flames.
Bibliographic references
  • David Bindman, Blake as an Artist (Oxford: Phaidon, 1977), pp. 165-66. Martin Butlin, The Paintings and Drawings of William Blake (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1981), pp. 466-67, no. 641
  • Michael Phillips and Catherine de Bourgoing, William Blake. le Génie visionnaire du romantisme anglias Paris: Paris-Musées, 2009. ISBN: 978-2-7596-0077-9.
  • Evans, Mark et al. Vikutoria & Arubāto Bijutsukan-zō : eikoku romanshugi kaigaten = The Romantic tradition in British painting, 1800-1950 : masterpieces from the Victoria and Albert Museum. Japan : Brain Trust, 2002
  • Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings Accessions 1953 London: HMSO, 1963
  • Loukes, Andrew ed. William Blake in Sussex: Visions of Albion National Trust in association with Paul Hoberton Publishing, 2018. ISBN: 978-1-911300-29-8.
  • Philipps, Michael (ed.), William Blake, 1757-1827 : le Génie Visionnaire du Romantisme Anglais, Paris : Paris Musées, 2009no. 105
Accession number

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Record createdJune 19, 2008
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