Jacob lies asleep in the foreground of this work.
Jacob's Ladder by William Blake, 1800
© Trustees of the British Museum
- 37 x 29 cm
- Acquired in:
- Bequeathed by:
- Executors of W. Graham Robertson through The Art Fund
Beside his head is the end of a spiral stairway leading up through the starlit heavens to end in the sun. Angelic figures and children are passing joyfully up and down the stairway. This watercolour is part of a collection of works by William Blake belonging to the late Graham Robertson and was included in his sale at Christie's in 1949. Graham Robertson, painter, author and theatrical designer, was widely known as a Blake collector. At his death in 1948 he bequeathed 4 Blakes to the Nation; the rest of the collection was to be disposed of by auction. He had, however, left a very considerable estate to be given to charities. This allowed his Executors to instruct the auctioneers that some of the drawings should be acquired for certain museums up to defined limits. In this way 20 works, totalling £40,281 were given by the Executors, through the Art Fund, to 6 public collections.