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  • Place of origin:

    London (printed and published)

  • Date:

    1881 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Poynter, Edward John (Sir), born 1836 - died 1919 (artist)
    Brothers Dalziel (printer and publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood engraving, ink on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by E. Dalziel

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 122c, case 3

Object Type
This is a wood engraved illustration. Although the process of wood engraving required highly skilled craftsmen, it became the most popular form of book illustration in the mid-19th century. Unlike copperplate engravings, wood engravings were engraved on dense boxwood blocks and could then be set and printed together with the type.

The Dalziel Brothers (active 1839-1905) was one of the most influential wood engraving, printing and publishing firms from the 1860s to the 1880s. In 1857 they founded the Camden Press so that they could print and publish fine art or gift books such as the Bible Gallery, for which this engraving was done. They also wood engraved and printed for many of the leading publishers and periodicals of the period, playing a vital role in the flourishing of black and white illustration in the 1860s. From 1871 to 1879 the Dalziels were also in charge of the illustrations and engraving of the Household edition of Charles Dickens (1812-1870). Later the brothers wrote that although the Bible Gallery was a commercial failure, 'Fortunately many of the best of the original drawings have found their way to the National Collection at the Kensington Museum (now the V&A), where they will remain as records of some of the very finest examples of the black and white work of this period'.

Subjects Depicted
Moses was the biblical leader of the Jewish people, and the lawgiver and founder of Judaism. Aaron was his brother. Moses forced the Pharoah of Egypt to allow the Jews, also known as the Israelites, to leave Egypt. He then led them to establish the promised land of Israel. During the journey he received the Ten Commandments from God, the fundamental tenets of both the Jewish and Christian religions.

Physical description


Place of Origin

London (printed and published)


1881 (made)


Poynter, Edward John (Sir), born 1836 - died 1919 (artist)
Brothers Dalziel (printer and publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Wood engraving, ink on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed with monogram signature and date '18EJP63' and 'DALZIEL Sc'.


Height: 21.3 cm unmounted, Width: 18.5 cm unmounted

Object history note

Printed and published in London by the Dalziel Brothers (active 1840-1905) after a drawing by Sir Edward John Poynter (born in Paris 1836, died in London, 1919)

Descriptive line

Illustration depicting Moses and Aaron before Pharoah

Labels and date

British Galleries:

From the 1850s, Dalziel & Co. were outstanding suppliers of wood-engraved images to the publishing industry. The Dalziel brothers promoted wood engraving by hand as a reproductive technique with skilled craftsmen engraving drawings by other, more famous, artists. From the 1860s, drawings by celebrated painters were commissioned for a 'coffee-table' book recounting the story of the Bible in pictures. It was published in October 1880 at £5.5s (£5.25p) a copy, but the Dalziels described the venture as 'a dead failure' commercially. [27/03/2003]


Printing ink




Prints; Religion


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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