William Blake

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William Blake
Christ Nailed to The Cross: The Third Hour
ca. 1800-1803
Pen and black ink, watercolor, graphite, and black chalk.
13 1/16 x 13 5/8 inches (332 x 346 mm)
Thaw Collection.

Signed with initials in circle, at lower right corner, in pen and black ink, lowercase "inv" over initials "WB." Inscribed on back of mount, in pencil, partially cut off, "...[w]as the third hour, and they / [crucified] him'--Mark ch. 15-v.25-/155. ff: Gilchrist's life of Blake."

Thomas Butts; Thomas Butts Jr.; sale, London, Foster & Sons, 29 June 1853, lot 138 as "The Crucifixion"; bought H.G. Bohn; presumably Col. Gould Weston; Alexander Anderdon Weston; his window; sale, London, Christie's 28 June 1904, lot 6; bought by E. Parsons; sold 1904 to W. Graham Robertson; sale, London, Christie's, 22 July 1949, lot 32; bought by Francis Neale for Lord Glentanar; his daughter, the Hon. Mrs. Jean Bruce; sale London, Christie's, 4 June 1974, lot 134, repr.; Justin G. Schiller, New York; Barry Friedman, Ltd., New York; sold through the Fine Art Society to M. Koike, Tokyo; private collection, Tokyo; Thos. Agnew & Sons Ltd., London; Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw, New York.

The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY, "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection", 2017. Exh. cat., no. 11, repr.
Denison, Cara D. et al. Drawings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Victor Thaw. Part II. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1985, no. 28. (also in Thaw III, no. 47)
Denison, Cara D. et al. The Thaw Collection : Master Drawings and New Acquisitions. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1994, no. 47.


Watermark: none visible through mount.
This highly finished watercolor is one of several drawings depicting the Passion of Christ that Blake made in response to a 1799 commission from Thomas Butts for a series of Bible illustrations. Butts, a clerk in the War Office, became one of Blake's most important patrons for the following decade. The Passion cycle as a whole is distinguished by the cumulative emotional power derived from the repetition of Christ's form at the center of each sheet. -- Exhibition Label, from "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection"

Associated names: 

Butts, Thomas, 1759-1846, former owner.
Butts, Thomas, 1788-1862, former owner.
Bohn, Henry G. (Henry George), 1796-1884, former owner.
Weston, Gould, Col., former owner.
Weston, Alexander Anderdon, former owner.
Parsons, E., former owner.
Robertson, W. Graham (Walford Graham), 1866-1948, former owner.
Glentanar, Lord, former owner.
Bruce, Jean, former owner.
Koike, M., former owner.
Thaw, Eugene Victor, former owner.
Thaw, Clare, former owner.

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