- Museum number
- Object: Lucifer and the Pope in Hell
An infernal landscape, with flames to the left, and six figures partially visible, sunk in a river or mire (?), wound in a serpent's coils; to the right, the nude figure of Lucifer, his body covered in scales, pointing a spear to the left; in front of him, the figure of a pope looking right, into a smoky landscape in which at least one face is visible c.1794
Etching and engraving
- Production date
Height: 188 millimetres (trimmed within platemark)
Width: 252 millimetres (trimmed within platemark)
- Curator's comments
- This is a unique monochrome impression from this plate. A colour-printed impression also exists, at the Huntington Library.
Literature: Essick, Separate Plates, 1983, X, Ia; Bindman, Graphic Works, 1978, no. 323A
One of two known impressions of this plate, dating from c. 1793-4; the other, colour printed, is in the Huntington Library. It illustrates a passage from Isaiah in which the King of Babylon is warned of his fate in Hell: "Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations." This passage is one of the most uncompromising prophecies in the Bible against kingship and it was often alluded to by Protestant Dissenters in the seventeenth century (see D. Bindman, 'Blake and popular religious imagery', 'The Burlington Magazine', October 1986, p. 712). Essick categorises it as a political print and takes it to refer to George III.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1989 May-Sep, BM, Shadow of the Guillotine: Britain and French Revolution
1990 Jan-Mar, Manchester, Whitworth AG, Britain and French Revolution
1990 Jun-Sep, Vizille, Mus Rev/Francaise, Britain and French Revolution
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Essick says that Colnaghi had acquired this print from a private owner, shortly before selling it to the British Museum (Essick 1983).
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number