William Blake

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William Blake
When the Morning Stars Sang Together
ca. 1805-1810
Pen and black ink, watercolor, over graphite, on paper.
11 x 7 1/16 inches (280 x 179 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1909.
Thomas Butts; Richard Monckton Milnes, 1st Lord Houghton (1809-1885); Robert Offley Ashburton Milnes, 4th Baron and Marquess of Crewe; Crewe sale, London, Sotheby's, March 1903, lot 17; purchased through Quaritch by J. Pierpont Morgan, 30 June 1903.

The series of twenty-one watercolor illustrations for the Book of Job are one of Blake's supreme achievements. Here, God reenacts the creation of the world, while Job and his wife kneel below. The scene follows the moment in which Job challenged God to appear and explain why he deserved the succession of evils that devastated him. "Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind . . . Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? . . . When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"


In August Company : The Collections of the Pierpont Morgan Library. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1993, p. 296, repr.
From Leonardo to Pollock: Master drawings from the Morgan Library. New York: Morgan Library, 2006, cat. no. 61, p. 130-131.


One of twenty-one original drawings executed for Thomas Butts, ca. 1805-10, illustrating the Book of Job. This sheet is no. 14 in the series.

Associated names: 

Butts, Thomas, 1759-1846, former owner.
Houghton, Richard Monckton Milnes, Baron, 1809-1885, former owner.
Crewe, Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, Marquis of, 1858-1945, former owner.
Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont), 1837-1913, former owner.

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