About this artwork

Flames and trumpeting angels frame the statuesque figure of God who is seen from behind. Towering over the kneeling Moses, God raises his arms and prepares to inscribe the Ten Commandments on the stone tablets before him. The subject was inspired by an episode in the Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy. This is one of eighty watercolours of Biblical subjects Blake produced between 1800 and 1809. They were made for Thomas Butts, a military clerk, who shared his philosophies and whose son Blake taught to engrave.

  • title: God Writing upon the Tables of the Covenant
  • accession number: D 2281
  • artist: William BlakeEnglish (1757 - 1827)
  • depicted: God
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • subject: Religious
  • medium: Watercolour
  • date created: About 1805
  • measurements: 41.90 x 34.20 cm
  • credit line: William Findlay Watson Bequest 1881
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

William Blake

William Blake

Blake's vivid paintings and prints illustrate his originality as an artist, poet and mystic philosopher. His early apprenticeship with the engraver James Basire introduced him to a wide range of art works through prints. Blake was fascinated by Michelangelo's figures and also by medieval Gothic art. He combined both in his own visionary scenes painted in watercolour and in his experimental prints combining words and images. He was a student, briefly, at the Royal Academy in London, but his unorthodox views were incompatible with contemporary academic practice. Most of his prolific output was made for a few sympathetic, loyal patrons.