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Woodblock - Dalziels' Bible Gallery - Jacob meeting Rachel

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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:2006.1040.92
Collection:Fine Art Prints and Drawings
Date:1863c - 1865c

Maker Information

Designer:William Dyce - View biography for William Dyce
Engraver:Dalziel Brothers - View history


The text for this woodblock design is Genesis XXIX, 11 in which Jacob meets Rachel for the first time and kisses her. He agrees to work for her father for seven years in order to claim her hand in marriage. However, his father-in-law tricks him into marrying her elder sister Leah and he is forced to work an additional seven years before he can take Rachel as his wife.

Dyce first produced this composition as an oil painting (New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester). He exhibited it at the RA in 1850. It proved so successful that he asked William Holman Hunt, whose own painting 'A Converted British Family sheltering a Christian Priest from the Persecution of the Druids' (Ashmolean Museum) did not sell, to make a copy of it (untraced) (William Dyce and the Pre-Raphaelite Vision, exh. cat., Aberdeen Art Gallery, p. 142). In 1853 Dyce made another version depicting the figures full-length rather than cropped as in the orginal.

In the 1860s the Dalziel Brothers used the first painting as the basis for a wood engraving. The only difference to the composition is the addition of a water jar on the side of the well. However, like many other designs commissioned for the project the print was not included in the final 'Bible Gallery' (pub. 1881). It appeared in the later version 'Art Pictures from the Old Testament' which was published by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge in 1894. This volume gives the title of the work as 'Jacob meeting Rachel' and incorrectly cites the source for the design as Genesis XXIX, 18. The original title 'Jacob kisses Rachel' and correct biblical source are written on the reverse of this woodblock.

Acquired through the Executors of J N Hart, c.1965.

Further Information

Production Period:19th century
Medium:Engraved boxwood block.


Height:135 mm
Width:177 mm
Depth:23 mm