1800 Macklin World’s Largest Bible Engraving

1800 Macklin World’s Largest Bible Engraving


Out of stock

1800 Macklin World’s Largest Bible Engraving – Moses, the Serpent & the Cross N.F.

  • Sheet size 18 1/4″ x 14 1/2″
  • Image size 12 1/4″ x 9 3/4″
  • Wonderfully framed in a beautifully ornate gold wooden frame of professional quality
  • Measures 22 1/2 x 18 1/2 overall

Out of stock



1800 Macklin World’s Largest Bible Engraving of Moses, the Serpent & the Cross N.F.

Near Fine

  • Sheet size 18 1/4″ x 14 1/2″
  • Image size 12 1/4″ x 9 3/4″
  • Wonderfully framed in a beautifully ornate gold wooden frame of professional quality
  • Measures 22 1/2 x 18 1/2 overall

The perfect gift idea for that hard to buy for someone special !

A certificate of authenticity is included

Bible set and title page are not included- pictured for interest and authenticity purpose only….

A rare opportunity to own a true museum piece!

Engraving of Moses, the serpent and the cross

By American artist Benjamin West and engraved by John Hall, August 30th, 1793.

…And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believeth in him , should not perish, but have everlasting life. – gospel of John 3:14-16.

A striking image !!!

Thomas Macklin (1752 – 1800) was a British 18th-century printseller and picture dealer.

Macklin married Hannah Kenting in 1777 and started a printselling business in London in 1779. His first year, his sold 7,000 copies of a print of rear admiral Richard Kempenfelt. In 1781, he inherited £20,000, which he used to speculate in the print market.

Macklin is most famous for his poet’s gallery, a project he announced on 1 January 1787. He planned to commission 100 paintings illustrating famous English poems, which he would publish monthly as engravings between 1790 and 1795. He also held an annual exhibition in pall mall, like John Boydell and his Shakespeare gallery. However, the war with France cut into his profits, as prints could not be traded across the channel, and his partner, Edward Rogers, died. The project produced paintings by Joshua Reynolds, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Gainsborough, John Opie, Angelica Kauffman, Thomas Stothard, and Francis Wheatley. Francesco Bartolozzi engraved most of the prints.

Just two years after beginning the poet’s gallery, Macklin undertook to publish an illustrated folio bible in multiple volumes to promote “‘the glory of the English school’ of painting and engraving and ‘the interest of our holy religion'”. A new typeface and a new kind of paper were designed for the work. The finished bible had 70 engraved plates, 16 of which were by Philippe Jacques de Louthenbourg. Many of the same artists who were participating in the poet’s gallery worked on the bible project. 703 people signed the subscription list, including George III. Macklin’s bible project was expensive to produce: he paid Reynolds £500 for his holy family, for example, and the total cost was estimated at £30,000. To realize this project, he was forced to sell some of the paintings from the poet’s gallery by lottery in 1797.

Macklin died on 25 october 1800, just five days after the last large engraving was finished for the bible. The vignettes were not finished until six weeks later. According to the dictionary of national biography, “The Macklin bible endures as the most ambitious edition produced in Britain, often pirated but never rivalled.”

Macklin’s influence was felt in the world of the arts not only as a publisher but also as a patron. The dictionary of national biography records that he may have spent as much as £300,000 as a patron of the arts.

Benjamin West

October 10, 1738 – March 11, 1820

West a British North American history painter around and after the time of the American war of independence and the seven years’ war. He was the second president of the royal academy in London, serving from 1792 to 1805 and 1806 to 1820. He was offered a knighthood by the British crown, but declined it, believing that he should instead be made a peer. He said that “Art is the representation of human beauty, ideally perfect in design, graceful and noble in attitude.

West was born in Springfield, Pennsylvania, in a house that is now in the borough of Swarthmore on the campus of Swarthmore college, as the tenth child of an innkeeper and his wife. The family later moved to Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, where his father was the proprietor of the square tavern, still standing in that town. West told the novelist John Galt, with whom, late in his life, he collaborated on a memoir, the life and studies of Benjamin West (1816, 1820) that, when he was a child, Native Americans showed him how to make paint by mixing some clay from the river bank with bear grease in a pot. Benjamin West was an autodidact; while excelling at the arts, “He had little formal education and, even when president of the royal academy, could scarcely spell”. One day his mother left him alone with his little sister Sally. Benjamin discovered some bottles of ink and began to paint Sally’s portrait. When his mother came home, she noticed the painting, picked it up and said, “why, it’s Sally!” and kissed him. Later, he noted, “My mother’s kiss made me a painter.”

From 1746 to 1759, west worked in Pennsylvania, mostly painting portraits. While west was in Lancaster in 1756, his patron, a gunsmith named William Henry, encouraged him to paint a death of Socrates based on an engraving in Charles Rollin’s ancient history. His resulting composition, which significantly differs from the source, has been called “The most ambitious and interesting painting produced in colonial America”. Dr william smith, then the provost of the college of Philadelphia, saw the painting in Henry’s house and decided to become west’s patron, offering him education and, more importantly, connections with wealthy and politically connected Pennsylvanians. During this time west met John Wollaston, a famous painter who had immigrated from London. West learned Wollaston’s techniques for painting the shimmer of silk and satin, and also adopted some of “His mannerisms, the most prominent of which was to give all his subjects large almond-shaped eyes, which clients thought very chic”.

West was a close friend of Benjamin Franklin, whose portrait he painted. Franklin was the godfather of West’s second son, Benjamin.

In august 1763, west arrived in England, on what he initially intended as a visit on his way back to America. In fact, he never returned to America. He stayed for a month at Bath with William Allen, who was also in the country, and visited his half-brother Thomas west at reading at the urging of his father. In London he was introduced to Richard Wilson and his student Joshua Reynolds. He moved into a house in Bedford street, covent garden. The first picture he painted in England Angelica and Medora, along with a portrait of General Monckton, and his Cymon and Iphigenia, painted in Rome, were shown at the exhibition in spring gardens in 1764.

In 1765 he married Elizabeth Shewell, an american to whom he became engaged in Philadelphia, at st martin-in-the-fields.

Dr Markham, then headmaster of Westminster school, introduced west to Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, Thomas Newton, Bishop of Bristol, James Johnson, Bishop of Worcester, and Robert Hay Drummond, Archbishop of York. All three prelates commissioned work from him. In 1766 west proposed a scheme to decorate St. Paul’s cathedral with paintings. It was rejected by the bishop of London, but his idea of painting an altarpiece for St. Stephen Walbrook was accepted. At around this time he also received acclaim for his classical subjects, such as Orestes and Pylades and the continence of Scipio.

Benjamin West was known in England as the “American Raphael”. His Raphaelesque painting of Archangel Michael binding the devil is in the collection of Trinity College, Cambridge.

St. Paul’s church, in the jewellery quarter, Birmingham, has an important enamelled stained glass east window made in 1791 by Francis Eginton, modeled on an altarpiece painted c. 1786 by West, now in the Dallas Museum of Art. It shows the conversion of Paul. He was elected a foreign honorary member of the american academy of arts and sciences in 1791.

West is also well known for his huge work in the chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul which now forms part of the old royal naval college in Greenwich, London. His work, the preservation of St. Paul after a shipwreck at Malta, measures 25 ft by 14 ft and illustrates the acts of the apostles: 27 & 28. West also provided the designs for the other paintings executed by Biaggio Rebecca in the chapel.

Following a loss of royal patronage at the beginning of the 19th century, West began a series of large-scale religious works. The first, Christ healing the sick was originally intended as a gift to Pennsylvania hospital in Philadelphia; instead he sold it to the British Institution for £3,000, which in turn presented it to the National Gallery. West then made a copy to send to Philadelphia. The success of the picture led him to paint a series of even larger works, including his death on the pale horse, exhibited in 1817.

West died at his house in Newman street, London, on March 11, 1820, and was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral.


Additional information

Weight 128 oz
Dimensions 23 × 19 × 3 in


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