Inspiration

According to pioneering Blake researcher Joseph Wicksteed, this image is a heartfelt and impassioned acknowledgement of William Blake's obligation to his patron and student John Linnell and his spouse.

Illustration

The main illustration defines six characters. Job and his wife are seated on a rock on the right side of the artwork. Job gained virtue by receiving from his friends after losing it by giving to a vagrant. This is genuine generosity born of natural affection. The image shows the other four characters standing on the left side, with one of the women offering Job a gold earring.

Job's narrative is about a decent guy who is put to the test to better grasp the link between God's existence and the evil of suffering. Job's primary fault in Blake's account is that he focuses on the text rather than the spirit of God's commandment. As a result, Job falls under Satan's control, and his agony culminates in the horrifying vision of a cloven-hoofed monster. One of Blake's other works, the eleventh plate, clearly depicts this occurrence.

The heavy cross that hung over Job's head has finally been shattered. He sits on the rock with his left arm across his chest. The fig tree producing fruit with the standing wheat behind it represents prosperity. Bountifulness is also depicted by the gifts his guests hold, waiting to be received by Job. Next to him sits his wife, with both her arms across her chest. Angels swarm the designs' margins with palms of triumph because Job has finally vanquished his pride, and below are flowers and lilies of mystical and physical attractiveness.

The Technique

The technique used in this creation depicts a blend of grey wash, black ink, watercolour and pen, all delicately arranged over hints of graphite. The entire product is in grayscale, with darker shades defining points of focus.

Current Location

In 1903, Pierpont Morgan purchased this piece of art. Every One Also Gave Him a Piece of Money was later acquired with the help of a National Gallery special grant and gifts from the Art Fund, Lord Duveen, and others, and given through the Art Fund 1919.