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Tempera painting - The Virgin and Child in Egypt
  • The Virgin and Child in Egypt
    Blake, William, born 1757 - died 1827
  • Enlarge image

The Virgin and Child in Egypt

  • Object:

    Tempera painting

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (probably, painted)

  • Date:

    1810 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Blake, William, born 1757 - died 1827 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    tempera on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Paul Mellon

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Paintings, Room 82, The Edwin and Susan Davies Galleries, case South Wall

This is one of four similar paintings that Blake made for his faithful patron Thomas Butts. The others depict Adam, Eve and Christ. As a group, they show the fall and redemption of mankind. Here Blake depicted the Virgin Mary and Jesus in an Egypt of the artist's imagination, under the palm tree where they are said to have sheltered. The Pyramids are in the distance, and the Nile and walls of Cairo in the background.

Physical description

Portrait format painting depicting a child on it's mother's lap, with the child looking directly a the viewer and the mother looking down at the child.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (probably, painted)


1810 (painted)


Blake, William, born 1757 - died 1827 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

tempera on canvas

Marks and inscriptions

Wm Blake
Signed and dated by the artist on the trunk of the palm tree


Height: 76.5 cm estimate, Width: 63.5 cm estimate, Height: 375 mm frame, Width: 485 mm frame, Depth: 60 mm frame, Height: 90 cm Frame, Width: 78 cm Frame, Depth: 6.5 cm Frame

Object history note

Thomas Butts; Thomas Butts jnr.; SIr William Stirling Maxwell; General Archibald Stirling; Lt.-Col. William Stirling; Paul Mellon; Given to the V&A by Paul Mellon, 1953

Descriptive line

Tempera painting entitled 'The Virgin and Child in Egypt' by William Blake. Great Britain, 1810.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

no. 214
Butlin, Martin. William Blake., London : Tate Gallery, 1978
W. M. Rossetti, "Annotated Catalogue" in A. Gilchrist Life of William Blake, 2 vols, 1863, II, p.230, no.185.
W. M. Rossetti, "Annotated Catalogue" in A. Gilchrist Life of William Blake, 2 vols, 1880 (enlarged edition), II, p.243, no.211.
G.keynes, William Blake's Illustrations to the Bible, 1957, p.30, no.97, repr
Butlin, M. "The Bicentenary of William Blake", Burlington Magazine c, 1958, pp.40, 43
A. S. Roe "The Thunder of Egypt", in A. H. Rosenfeld (ed.) William Blake: Essays for S. Foster Damon, 1969, p.182
Bindman, D., Blake as an Artist 1977, p.171, repr. pl.128
M. D. Paley, William Blake, 1978, p.56, repr. pl.78
Butlin, M., The Paintings and Drawings of William Blake, I, pp.483-4, cat. no. 669, repr. pl.962.
Bindman, D, William Blake: His Art and Times, 1982, p.134, fig.30.
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
Exhibition of the works of William Blake, London : Burlington Fine Arts Club, 1876
Catalogue of loan collection of pictures by French and British artists of the 18th century, Glasgow : The Museum, 1902
A catalogue of frescoes, prints, & drawings by William Blake, London : Carfax & Co., Ltd., 1906
Keynes, Geoffrey, The Tempera Paintings of William Blake : a critical catalogue, London : Arts Council of Great Britain, 1951
Russell, Archibald G.B., Catalogue : Blake centenary exhibition, London : Privately printed for the Burlington Fine Arts Club, 1927
La Peinture Romantique Anglaise et les Préraphaélites, Paris : Petit Palais, 1972
no. 35
Masterpieces of Paintings from the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tokyo : Catalogue Committee, 1990


Religion; Paintings


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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